Review/interview by Ed King
‘Its got snowboarding, Bill Bailey, and girls in hot tubs…’ was Chalet Girl director’s defence of ‘this year’s Bridget Jones’ to the UK’s male population. Sitting in the cinema, roughly a decade older than the rest of the audience, I was not short changed on the snowboarding.
Chalet Girl is the UK’s new coming of age comedy. Basically Cinderella on a snowboard, 19yr old Kim Matthews, played by Bournville born and Ambridge raised Felicity Jones (Jones played The Archer’s Emma Carter until 2009), sets off to earn her fortune ‘speaking posh’ on the slopes of Austria. Following the obligatory montage of etiquette jokes and South London colloquialisms, we learn Kim’s also coming to terms with the death of her mother. Oh, and she’s an ex-professional skateboarder. Which comes in handy, being ‘a Chalet Girl who can’t ski?!?’
“Felicity is very down to earth,” says Phil Traill, Chalet Girl’s LA based director, “and she was more than happy to put in the hard hours to learn to snowboard – which I thought was a great attitude for her to have. Not sure if that’s simply from her brummie background, but perhaps it helped?!” Dodging broken glass and stones on the dry slopes of Ackers..? Perhaps not.
What Jones certainly can do is act. Despite some shockingly sparse narrative in parts, including a tragically under written emotional denouement, Chalet Girl’s leading lady is utterly convincing as a corked bottle on ice. The line ‘I live to prep veg’ was never delivered with such aplomb.
Equally as engaging is Tamsin Egerton, playing the cheek kissing Georgie, who’s quickly the most likeable person on screen. In fact Chalet Girl is stolen by women, with Brooke Shields and Sophia Bush as the elitist dragons with subtle perfection. The only male role model is Bill Nighy, as the satirically wealthy owner of the eponymous Chalet.
Chalet Girl is an obvious film. Fun, but obvious. If you’re young, into snowboarding (or girls in hot tubs… kind of, sort of) then go and see it, you’ll have fun. Obviously. However Helen Fielding it is not. But as Traill points out from the off, ‘It’s much more of a coming-of-age movie than a ‘romcom’, kissing a sexy guy is really just a nice reward’.
Chalet Girl is out now on major UK release. For more information visit www.chaletgirl-movie.com