‘Suncoast’ Review — Even Laura Linney Can’t Save This Hulu Drama – saimmalik

The Huge Image

  • Suncoast options wonderful performances by Nico Parker, Laura Linney, and Woody Harrelson.
  • The emotionally efficient climax of the movie leaves an enduring impression.
  • The movie is riddled with clichés, unconvincing good friend characters, and an avoidance of deeper, extra advanced matters.

Coming-of-age stories are inherently wealthy with angst and battle. In spite of everything, between navigating the complicated politics of highschool, making an attempt to determine your identification whereas nonetheless dwelling below your dad and mom’ roof, and coping with all these hormones, being a teen can suck. Movies that add an additional layer of trauma — the varsity taking pictures in Megan Park’s phenomenal The Fallout, for example, or the PTSD in The Perks of Being a Wallflower — can amp up the stakes much more. Suncoast actually falls below this umbrella.


From debut function movie author/director Laura Chinn, a semi-auto-biographical coming of age story a couple of younger girl coping with her brother’s severe sickness.

Launch Date
February 9, 2024

Laura Chinn

109 minutes

What Is ‘Suncoast’ About?

Suncoast follows a teen woman named Doris (Nico Parker), who has spent nearly all of her life taking good care of her brother, Max (Cree Kawa), who has mind most cancers. Not solely has this induced her to overlook out on having a standard childhood and lack socialization abilities together with her friends, but it surely’s additionally created a wedge between her and her mom, Kristine (Laura Linney). Kristine spends all of her time working or doting on Max, concurrently neglecting and placing an unfair quantity of strain on Doris within the course of.

When Max strikes right into a hospice referred to as Suncoast, Kristine begins spending extra of her time with him there, leaving Doris to her personal gadgets. Doris takes benefit of this newfound freedom, making buddies by inviting them over to her empty home to get together. She additionally varieties a bond with a person named Paul (Woody Harrelson), a grieving spiritual widower who lately misplaced his spouse. Doris blossoms by means of these relationships, opening up and doing issues for herself for a change. However the pressure together with her mom and the approaching sense of grief with Max threaten to derail her newfound happiness.

‘Suncoast’ Shines Brightest When Nico Park and Laura Linney Share the Display screen

Picture by way of Searchlight Footage

Kristine is, to be blunt, not a likable character in any respect. That’s not inherently an issue — her son is dying, for god’s sake; her less-than-stellar method of dealing with issues is greater than comprehensible at occasions. It may even be enjoyable to observe her go off on the hospice nurses for smiling or threaten the constructing’s safety guards. However the way in which she treats Doris feels overly harsh contemplating the movie’s style and tone — disproportionately merciless in a method you’ll be able to’t come again from. She consistently yells about how egocentric Doris is, negating her emotions and manipulating her when Doris does one thing she doesn’t like — typically even utilizing Max as a pawn in her lies. Some moments are clearly ironic, like the apparent favoritism Kristine exhibits when saying she’s going to sleep on the hospice with Max in case he will get scared. When Doris meekly mentions she’ll get scared dwelling alone with out her, Kristine dismisses her, basically telling her to recover from herself. It’s meant to be a minimum of partially comedic, but it surely finally ends up feeling extra unhappy and severe.

The selection to chop away from Doris to sometimes present Kristine’s personal wrestle with grief does assist flesh her out a bit past her consistently biting individuals’s heads off, however neither these moments nor the not possible playing cards she’s been dealt ever really feel like sufficient to justify her conduct. Whereas Kristine does apologize for a few of her actions, it comes off as too little too late. She’s let off the hook method too simply, with Doris forgiving her and falling into her arms with out Kristine being held accountable for the hurt she’s induced. I had hassle rooting for Doris to forgive her after she handled her so horribly each second as much as that time. Doris is much from good, too, however in contrast to Kristine, she’s nonetheless a baby, which provides an uncomfortable layer to Kristine’s borderline bullying. It’s a difficult line to toe, because the movie needs us to have grace and compassion for Kristine whereas additionally being vital of her actions. Sadly, it comes down on the flawed aspect of it too typically. Being flawed is one factor — and an inspired factor, as individuals are messy and imperfect — however Kristine’s antagonism towards Doris veers into emotionally abusive territory, which doesn’t work when you could have Harrelson’s character consistently telling Doris that she’s an excellent mother and that Doris must take it straightforward on her. It feels a bit like gaslighting to Doris and the viewers alike.

Nonetheless, there’s no denying that Linney and Park have abilities — and fairly unbelievable chemistry. Their performances deliver out the small moments of nuance, like once they go from combating to bantering and bonding over superstar gossip in a split-second. Their greatest moments are additionally performed with pitch-perfect precision. Their climactic combat is electrical, and it’s satisfying — even cathartic — to lastly see Doris snap and Kristine’s feelings pour out of her. Though the flip of Kristine comforting Doris doesn’t really feel utterly earned, it does go away you utterly wrecked. You’ll sob, assured, and that’s a strong testomony to their appearing.

The Politics of ‘Suncoast’ Are Intriguing however Underdeveloped

(from left to right) Nico Parker, Ella Anderson, Ariel Martin, and Daniella Taylor sitting on a curb laughing in Suncoast by Laura Chinn for Sundance 2024
Picture by way of Sundance Institute

Sadly, Doris’ relationships together with her new good friend group and crush aren’t practically as compelling. For one, practically all of their interactions really feel cliche, as if writer-director Laura Chinn is working off a teen film guidelines. They’ve a number of home events. They get pretend IDs. One of many buddies will get jealous {that a} man likes Doris. The listing goes on. And worse but, these scenes really feel like they’re simply going by means of the motions of what they assume Doris is meant to expertise to have character growth slightly than really displaying us how she is being affected. Her storyline together with her crush is paper-thin, and her counseling her good friend on her relationship drama feels solely inconsequential. The romance plots really feel notably pressured and pointless right here.

There’s potential, however no tropes are ever subverted in any fascinating methods, and complicated matters aren’t engaged with on any significant degree regardless of being launched. The topic of sophistication, for example, is an underlying theme. Doris’ mom has to work arduous at a low-paying job to offer, which is one thing her new buddies clearly don’t perceive, evident in the way in which they be aware how small her home is or inform her to simply purchase a brand new college sweatshirt when she loses hers. As an alternative of getting any actual dialogue about this, the storyline is sanitized, simplified, and virtually ignored. Microaggressions are minimized, too, like when her buddies each praise and critique her curly hair (this additionally comes up when her mom makes her sit within the mattress of their pickup truck). Towards the tip of the film, Doris tells her buddies that they saved her life — one thing I don’t utterly imagine after seeing their largely surface-level interactions.

The identical will be stated for the controversy about voluntary euthanasia that permeates the movie with the Terri Schiavo plotline. It’s a fancy concern — one the movie does do an excellent job not presenting as one thing black-and-white — however it will probably typically really feel like a contrived plot gadget at finest and background noise at worst. The selection to have Doris go to a Catholic college is an interesting one contemplating the church’s agency stance on the problem, but it surely’s by no means actually grappled with on a bigger degree in addition to Doris sharing a number of obscure platitudes about how one can’t know what’s moral till you’re really within the scenario — an odd selection for the reason that setup feels ripe for it.

Woody Harrelson’s Position Feels Acquainted in ‘Suncoast’

Woody Harrelson as Paul sitting outside and leaning against a tree in Suncoast
Picture by way of Searchlight Footage

As an alternative, this plotline brings her to Harrelson’s character, who may as nicely be reprising his position from The Edge of Seventeen. (That’s not a grievance, by the way in which — he’s wonderful in this sort of untraditional, straight-talking mentor position.) It’s enjoyable to observe the 2 have lighthearted however significant philosophical and ethical debates over milkshakes and driving classes, and his recommendation to Doris is genuinely transferring. However this dynamic — in addition to the small second Doris shares together with her good friend’s mother whereas they’re all preparing for promenade — looks like one other missed alternative. How compelling it may have been to have Doris actively search for parental figures in locations exterior of her mom and have that be an eye-opening expertise for Kristine. Once more, it looks like the film is hinting at this however is just too afraid to commit and go all-in on the idea.

Suncoast has a compelling premise, but it surely’s too riddled with drained clichés to ever be really participating. There are fascinating relationships at its core, however the typically unusual characterization and unwillingness to go in opposition to tropes dampen their impression. The actors are all top-notch, handing over phenomenal performances — it’s simply too dangerous the script and path don’t give them stronger materials to work with. Suncoast is in the end a definite, private story lacking a definite, private voice and imaginative and prescient.

Suncoast Film Poster


Although Suncoast options fantastic performances, its clichés dim its impression


  • The movie boasts wonderful performances by Nico Parker, Laura Linney, and Woody Harrelson
  • It has an emotionally efficient climax

  • There are too many predictable cliches.
  • An excessive amount of time is spent on unconvincing good friend characters.
  • The movie is afraid to totally dive into extra advanced matters.

Suncoast had its World Premiere on the 2024 Sundance Movie Competition. It will likely be accessible to stream on Hulu within the U.S. beginning February 9.


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