A Simple But Enjoyable Sports Drama
Skater Girl is a very simple sport drama. It’s a no-frills story about a girl overcoming adversity to pursue her passions. We’ve seen this plot play out a million times before, from films like Pursuit Of Happyness to Whiplash and Goal. While Skater Girl doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it does grind across its 100 minutes with a decent amount of fluidity.
The story here takes place in the middle of Rajasthan village, a rural area playing home to poverty and patriarchy. At the center of this lies little Prerra Bhil, a poor girl who has stopped going to school, partly due to her inability to buy new textbooks.
With things looking bleak, newcomer Jessica arrives and changes everything. This 34 year old British-Indian girl has returned to the village for her own reasons linked to her family. Only, she’s soon joined by her friend Erick, an American who lives in Los Angeles. When he shows up with his skateboard, the kids in the village find their lives transformed forever.
Of course, Prerna is our protagonist and as such her life is changed more than others. As she begins to get more invested in skateboarding, her Father begins to see this as a deterrent, determined to whip Prerna into shape and hang up the board, helping her Mother around the house instead.
While this internal conflict brews, external issues pop up across the village as the kids inadvertently cause havoc, grinding and skating through the sleepy town and changing things forever.
Although the main story is reasonably good, Skater Girl is less effective when it comes to its two budding romances and subplots. Jessica and Erick in particular don’t have a lot of chemistry and their scenes lack the charisma needed to carry it over the line. Likewise, Prerna’s formulaic high-school romance with Subodh threatens to fall into every trope in the book.
Thankfully the film doesn’t drag out its story or fall into melodramatic waters. There’s a feel-good energy to this movie that’s typified by the third act in particular. It’s also nice to see that this skate park is still part of the community. The final shot of the film perfectly exemplifies this and it feels like a bright spark in what’s otherwise a pretty formulaic but enjoyable film.
While it’s unlikely to kickflip its way into skateboarding fame, Skater Girl has enough tricks in its repertoire to keep things engaging until the end.