Blue Crush [2002]

With refreshing energy, Blue Crush is the kind of movie that girls and young women deserve to see more of. It's mostly for them (although nice tans and bikinis will attract the guys), and it rejuvenates the surf-movie tradition by showing real girls with real friendships, coping with absent parents, borderline poverty, rocky romance, and the challenge of raising a kid sister. For young Hawaiian Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth), those responsibilities are motivations to excel as a champion-class surfer... if she can overcome the fear of drowning, which she nearly did in a previous wipeout. Supportive friends (Girlfight's Michelle Rodriguez, and Sanoe Lake) help her reach the climactic competition on Oahu's infamous Bonzai Pipeline, and like Saturday Night Fever, this engaging film uplifts the working class without condescension, riding high toward the joy of achievement. Himself an amateur surfer, director John Stockwell (Crazy/Beautiful) captures the extreme thrill of the sport while respecting the forces of nature and human behavior. --Jeff Shannon

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