Coast: Coming-Of-Age Film Is Driven By Music

Fatima Ptacek in Coast. Courtesy of Cinedigm,

A young music lover falls for a rock singer in Coast and finds herself having to make one of the biggest decisions of her life.

Abby (Fatima Ptacek) lives in an agricultural California town along the coast where her generation is at odds with those who came before. Making matters worse for her at the moment is that her parents are getting a divorce. As such, connection is something that’s hard to come by. You could certainly say that Abby has to find herself. She’s a teenager living in a small town. There are only going to be so many friends that one can fit inside their friend circle. Music is one of the few things remaining when Abby is connecting less and less with her mother and friends. It’s little surprise that she ends up meeting Dave (Kane Ritchotte), a rock singer in Pinata Jones. Lo and behold, she eventually finds herself at the proverbial fork in the road. Which path will she take?

With the divorce process starting, Abby’s mother, Debra (Cristela Alonzo), is at something of a crossroads herself now that she’s single. Surprisingly, it is an unwell patient, Olivia (Melissa Leo), offering advice during this time. You never know when you’re going to get a much-needed pep talk and sometimes it comes from the unlikeliest of places. Debra isn’t necessarily a bad mother but it’s easy to see how the divorce is impacting her.

Abby listens to a ton of music during the film’s run time. This is in addition to watching Central California bands performing on stage. Music plays a big part in this film, not just on screen but the soundtrack, too. Both the score and original songs are composed by Aloke’s Alex Walker and Grouplove’s Christian Zucconi and Hannah Hooper. Pinata Jones, the fictional band in the film, features Kane Ritchotte and members of The Ceremonies. Ritchotte is a musician in real life and has gone on tour with the likes of Haim.

Cindy Kitagawa’s script draws from her own childhood experiences. She injects some of the area’s history into the script, which also has a way of shaping the characters. Even though these stories are not Coast‘s main focus, they are still important. That being said, they aren’t really depicted often enough on screen. Filmmakers Jessica Hester and Derek Schweickart bring this vision to the screen while also being mentored by Bruce Dern and Wendy Guerrero. Besides Bruce Dern being an executive producer, the film also shares a set of producers with dysfunctional Thanksgiving LGBTQ comedy Lez Bomb so it’s worth checking out.

Coast is a different teen movie than typical studio teen movies but Fatima Ptacek–longtime Dora the Explorer voice–delivers a solid performance in this indie film.

DIRECTORS: Jessica Hester & Derek Schweickart
SCREENWRITER: Cindy Kitagawa
CAST: Fatima Ptacek, Mia Frampton, Mia Xitlali, Kaylee Kamiya, Kane Ritchotte, Ciara Bravo, Eduardo Roman, Andres Velez, with Cristela Alonzo and Melissa Leo

Cinedigm released Coast in theaters and VOD on April 8, 2022. Grade: 3/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.