Float Review

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Summary

  • Float is a coming-of-age film with a slow start, but eventually captures the audience’s attention and makes them care about the characters.
  • Andrea Bang delivers a graceful performance and helps the audience understand her character by the end of the movie.
  • The film showcases the beauty of British Columbia through stunning visuals, adding to its appeal.



There are moments in Float when you may want to reach into the screen and somehow pull the character of Waverly aside and give her a good talking to. Can she really be this naïve? She can. And you’ll keep watching her be that way because, somehow, defying odds, Float manages to work its way into your heart. But you’ll have to wait over an hour for that feeling to fully kick in. Like taking aspirin, perhaps.


Played by Kim Convenience’s Andrea Bang, Waverly is sweet, shy, hesitant, and often infuriating. She’s young. This is a coming-of-age movie, and perhaps we should have patience; however, for a medical student who lived in Chicago and is about to head to Toronto to do her residency, there’s something a bit off here. A pitstop at her aunt’s small-town home sparks an idea that neither Waverly nor her tightly-wound, conservative parents back in Taiwan would have even considered: Why not spend the summer with her aunt?


There’s more to this movie than one girl’s impulse to step on the brakes of what undoubtedly will be a time-consuming career in the medical field. Float may be a coming-of-age film, but it’s also a romance tale. And for that, we have hunky and often shirtless, Upload star Robbie Amell steaming up scenes and towering over his much shorter costar. Like a summer read, a box of Valentine’s Day chocolate, or a Ben & Jerry’s binge, Float is a kind of simple-and-sweet indulgence. It may be predictable at times, but there’s something heartwarming lurking underneath the surface.


Shy Girl Meets Troubled Boy

Float

Float

3/5

Release Date
February 9, 2024

Director
Sherren Lee

Cast
Robbie Amell , Sarah Desjardins , Andrea Bang , Rukiya Bernard , Michelle Krusiec

Runtime
1hr 40min

Writers
Jesse LaVercombe , Sherren Lee

Pros

  • Andrea Bang handles her character with grace, helping the audience understand her by the end of the film.
  • The beauty of British Columbia is on display through excellent shots littered throughout the film.
Cons

  • The film has a slow start, with significant events not taking place until over an hour into the movie.
  • Float has promise, but some creative aspects and execution get lost in the process.


Directed by Sherren Lee, Float is based on the book by Kate Marchant, who also penned Whistleblower, a story about a journalism student who uncovers a scandal involving her head coach. That premise sounds more fetching than this movie, but let’s not go there just yet. Marchant, whose books found their way into the hearts and minds of young women, seems to know that a summer tale about two potentially star-crossed lovers is yummy and goes down like The Notebook 2.0 with extra chocolate sauce.


In this story, Waverly arrives at the doorstep of her aunt Rachel (Michelle Krusiec) in tranquil Tofino, British Columbia, not really sure how she mustered up the courage to get there. She’s been studying medicine in Chicago for some time and living solo—her parents dropped her off and headed back to Taiwan. Rachel welcomes her in, and Waverly decides to stay for a few days, which is code for: I’ll be here all summer.


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Things are slow-moving in this film. For nearly an hour, in fact. Significant turning points don’t always pack the punch they deserve. This is evident when Waverly and Blake find themselves in a curious spot. Blake is a lifeguard at the lake and community pool. He’s quick to teach Waverly how to swim. As the film rolls along, the story tracks Waverly’s dilemma—she hasn’t told her parents she’s staying at her more accepting aunt’s home—and Blake’s frenzied situation—after his parent’s death, he’s the sole provider for his younger sister (Yellowjackets’ Sarah Desjardins). Waverly and Blake are both dealing with stress and a longing for connection.


Kate Merchant shares screenwriting credits here with Jesse LaVercombe and director Sherren Lee, who was also attached to Kim’s Convenience. It would be good to see either this troika or either one of these writers create more so we can experience what else they’ve got in them. Float holds great promise, but there’s something in the execution that occasionally gets lost. It appears to be an odd convergence of too many creative cooks in the kitchen. The film wants to hit some marks yet seems to be holding back.


Perhaps this is intentional, for that sums up Waverly’s demeanor. The Kim’s Convenience star handles the material she’s given with a rare kind of grace. Waverly is likable, yet sometimes it’s challenging to believe the mental framework of the character. Robbie Amell fairs better, and if there’s one thing to realize here, it’s that Amell has the makings of being a big star. Between his noticeable turn in Upload, that surprisingly fresh and smart comedy on Prime Video, and appearances in The Flash and The Witcher, we’d love to see this actor in a stellar rom-com or action film.


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Meanwhile, the film is nicely shot, and the beauty of British Columbia is lovely eye candy. And after watching Waverly and Blake go through their personal dilemmas, something happens. You start to feel something for them and this movie. Despite its wobbly spots, the filmmakers have done something right: actually make you care about what happens to these characters. So, dive in. The deep end here is, well, deep enough.


Float opens in theaters on Feb. 9. Watch the trailer below.


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