At last a skater flick that’s all about the girls. The biggest name on the cast list may be Jaden Smith (yes, that Jaden Smith!) but the true stars of Crystal Moselle‘s Skate Kitchen is the skater group by the same name. The Skate Kitchen is made up of a number of female skaters who get together to do what they love to do best: get on their boards and just let their worries fall away. In between hitting skate parks all over New York City, they’ve become a welcoming community. Bordering on a documentary-like take on the Skate Kitchen, Moselle’s film follows Camille (Rachelle Vinberg), a long-haired Latina tomboy from Long Island who mostly stalks the Instagram of the Kitchen girls, awed by their videos, their talent, and their easy-going vibe. One day she decides to go to one of their meet ups and starts making trips into the city, even after her mother (Orange is the New Black‘s Elizabeth Rodriguez, in a mostly Spanish-speaking role) forbids her from skating altogether.
This being a breezy coming-of-age tale with a welcome diverse cast that looks just exactly like what you’d expect a New York City skater film to look like, we spend most of the time with Camille as she bonds with the Kitchen girls. They talk about everything from sex (“Do you like dick or pussy?”) and hygiene (“You use tampons?” “You don’t?”) to boys (“Boys are just uneducated”). But as the summer winds down and she finds herself making ill-advised decisions which include spending time with Jaden Smith’s character, who may or may not be the ex of the girl whose house she’s staying at. Shot with an eye for the kinetic energy of skating YouTube videos, and offering a sunlit, mostly street-bound side of New York City, Skate Kitchen is a fine addition to the likes of Edge of Seventeen and Perks of a Wallflower. It’s all about what it means to feel like an outsider finally finding a many-varied community that has very simple rules. As one character puts: “Skate or die, bitch.”
Check out the R I T U A L-scored full trailer below.
Skate Kitchen opens in theaters August 10, 2018.