Review: Chalet Girl (2011)

Chalet Girl (2011)

Directed by: Phil Traill | 97 minutes | comedy, romance, sports | Actors: Felicity Jones, Ed Westwick, Bill Nighy, Sophia Bush, Brooke Shields, Nicholas Braun, Tamsin Egerton, Bill Bailey, Georgia King, Ken Duken, Tom Goodman-Hill, Adam Bousdoukos, Abbie Dunn, Thomas Goersch, Chandra Ruegg

Sober nineteen-year-old Kim (Felicity Jones) used to be a skateboarding champion. Match after match she took first prize, always encouraged by her parents. Then disaster struck: after a match in London, the family drives home. They get into a serious car accident that kills Kim’s mother. Now, several years later, Kim has said goodbye to her sports career and her summer job in a burger joint has become her full-time job. With difficulty she scrapes together the money to pay the monthly fixed costs. Her father (a simultaneously funny and tragic Bill Bailey) is unemployed and barely able to take care of himself. When Kim gets the chance to earn double what she does now, but has to move four months from rainy England to the snow-capped mountains of Austria, she hesitates. Spurred on by her father, and the need to keep the bailiffs out, she decides to broaden her horizons and start working as a chalet girl.

Once in Austria, she soon notices that she is out of the picture. Her colleague, the experienced chalet girl Georgie (Tamsin Egerton), is arrogant but attractive, a star at skiing and doesn’t give a shit about doing this job to hook a rich guy. When the family arrives for Georgie and Kim to care for, Kim is impressed and amused at the same time. She is amazed at the ease with which these rich people spend money. She is very fond of the family’s son, Jonny, but yes, he is engaged to the beautiful Chloe (Sophia Bush)… She also likes Jonny’s father Richard (Bill Nighy) – although he keeps forgetting her name, but with the sullen, haughty mom Caroline (Brooke Shields) doesn’t like it. When the family is not staying at the chalet, Kim spends her time on the snowy slopes, where she quickly becomes very skilled at snowboarding. Her background as a skateboarder gives her a natural aptitude for this, and her newly acquired Finnish boyfriend Mikki (Ken Duken) encourages her to enter the competition that will earn her $25,000. You can sense on your ski boots, er, clogs how ‘Chalet Girl’ will end, but the road to this predictable ending is funny and entertaining.

Besides the perfect setting, the cast is one of the greatest assets of this romantic comedy. Felicity Jones does not portray Kim as the usual shy girl who has to deal with disappointments during the playing time and thus becomes an adult, but as a tough, self-assured young lady who uses delicious sarcastic one-liners. Her grief over the death of her mother is made palpable. Tamsin Egerton is also excellently cast and it is nice to see the growing friendship between the two girls. Ed Westwick is a charming opponent and with his Robert Pattinson likeness will surely melt the heart of many teenagers. Bill Nighy and Brooke Shields just don’t get enough screen time to make an overwhelming impression, but they are a valuable addition to the film in the scenes they play. ‘Chalet Girl’ is the ideal escape movie. If you want to relax with a movie on the couch, you won’t go wrong with ‘Chalet Girl’.

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