For me one of the real discoveries of the 2015 movie year to date is the heartfelt independent Ride written and directed by Helen Hunt. She also stars as an overprotective mother (with reasons slowly revealed from her past) who follows her son (Brenton Thwaites) from New York City to the beaches of Southern California (where his father lives) when he secretly drops out of school and decides to try his hand at surfing. After stalking him in a hired limo, they finally confront each other and she decides to show him she’s not as resistant to change as he thinks — so, without his knowledge, she takes up surfing with a local beach dude (Luke Wilson) in an effort to come to terms not only with her son but also herself.

Deadline Review Badge Pete HammondAs I say in my video review above, this is a true coming-of-age comedy/drama for both of these characters, and seeing this mother/son dynamic play out the way it does is unusual and welcome fodder for movies. This is Oscar winner Hunt’s second feature as a filmmaker (the first was seven years ago with Then She Found Me). She has undeniable skill behind the camera and it certainly must have been daunting to set so much of this on the water (and underneath). The surfing sequences are terrific and Hunt, a surfer in real life, does not seem shy in showing her character’s many wipeouts before finally being able to stand on her own — a great metaphor for her life. One sequence late in the film, in which she is shot underwater, is stunning in its beauty and simplicity.

Thwaites, Wilson and David Zayas as limo driver Ramon are all excellent, but this is Hunt’s film completely and she delivers the kind of small independent little gem that could drown without the attention it deserves. It is in limited play in theatres now through distributor Screen Media  but also simultaneously on VOD , and it is worth checking out wherever and however you can find it. Hunt also produced along with Lizzie Friedman, Moon Blauner, Karen Lauder and Greg Little.

Do you plan to see Ride? Let us know what you think.