The fine photography of beach, water, restaurant and town gives a rich texture to the film.

Greetings from the Shore

An Illusion Review by Joan Ellis


            “Greetings from the Shore” bristles with promise for everyone involved in it. Writer/director Greg Chwerchak and co-writer Gabrielle Berberich have fashioned a movie without a misstep. They have aimed for and achieved first-rate acting and story telling. Drawing heavily on Berberich’s own experience on the Jersey shore, the two have made the shore town of Lavallette a real character in the film; this setting is the essential heart of the story.

            Jenny Chambers (Kim Shaw), sad about the recent death of her father, decides to spend her last summer before college working at the Jersey shore town where she grew up. Her goal: to earn money toward tuition to Columbia University in the fall. Her hope disintegrates when the job she had been promised falls through. Alone in a town she has loved in the past, she hunts for and finally finds a job teaching English as a second language to the staff of a restaurant that is home to a motley group of sailors and high stakes gamblers. She becomes one person in the summer fabric of a shore town, a predictably varied seasonal population that offers up an unpredictable mix of people and events that include unexpected firs love with Benicio (David Fumero).

            As dominant as the love story is, the core of the movie is Jenny’s friendship with Catch (Paul Sorvino), a world weary father figure who reaches back into his experience to counsel the young girl. Toward the end of the film when things could get sentimental, actors Shaw and Sorvino manage to avoid that trap with thoroughly credible performances that are touching rather than trite. It becomes quickly obvious that Kim Shaw has the kind of intelligence that is the essential bedrock of a strong career. She is lucky to have her career begin with a film that may be small, but is mighty in writing and direction.

            The fine photography of beach, water, restaurant and town gives a rich texture to the film. We in the audience are right there in Lavallette watching the story unfold; it’s a coming of age film in a place that has, over the years, watched many young people grow into adulthood. But there’s something special here: this is the Jersey Shore.


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