Chalet Girl

| January 24, 2012

Chalet Girl is a teenage romantic comedy about a young tomboy, Kim, (Felicity Jones) who was successfully competing in skateboard competitions until she was derailed by the sudden death of her mother in a car accident. Her summer job at the local burger joint turns into the meager bread and butter for her and her unemployed father. On a tip from a friend, she interviews for a posh catering job which pays much more. She goes through a series of tests on dining etiquette only to be passed up because she doesn’t have the upbringing and poise the catering owner expects from the girls she hires. During their last meeting, however, the owner of the catering company is called for a replacement for a “chalet girl” needed for 4 months in Austria to start immediately. She offers this to Kim who declines the job on the spot because she fears for the well being of her father. Kim tells her dad about the job offer and he convinces her that he can take care of himself and she ends up taking the job after all.
Once Kim arrives in Austria, she finds that this much coveted job entitles the Chalet Girls to lots of free time, a free lift pass, great pay, and the sheer enjoyment of relaxing in a luxurious mostly vacant chalet. The family visits only a few times during the ski season and the job is really an occasional glorified nanny job for adults—cooking, cleaning, and accompanying the family on occasional outings. Kim shares this job with Georgie (Tamson Eggerton), a tall, beautiful blonde girl who comes off as catty and disappointed that the mousy Kim who has never seen mountains or worn a pair of ski boots, is the new replacement. At first Kim is overwhelmed in this new world of luxury and freedom but she soon discovers snowboarding, at which she excels.Her mild flirtations with the chalet owner’s son Jonny (Ed Westwick) eventually transform into something else.
This is a refreshing film. Of course there are always contrivances in romantic teenage comedies, but that is why they are so popular, and fortunately, this one is done well. The cast is great and the dialogue and character interactions are realistic. The movie is witty, entertaining, and has a nice bit of romance which is tastefully done.
Kim, (Felicity Jones) does a wonderful job as the inexperienced Chalet Girl. She is pretty, sarcastic, and sweet and stands up for herself in all situations. On her first day out snowboarding she quickly befriends a Finnish guy who helps her train for the big snowboard competition to win the big money prize to free her father from his debts. Kim’s roommate, Georgie, (Tamson Eggerton) does a brilliant job as what you would expect a “chalet girl” to be like—beautiful, posh, snobby, cheeky, fun, and money hungry.
Dickie, (Bill Nighy) plays the wealthy, eccentric but caring father married to the witch mom, Caroline (Brooke Shields) who wants her son Jonny (Ed Westwick) to marry well, meaning of equal socioeconomic status, of course. I was relieved Brooke Shields had an American wife role and wasn’t forced into trying a fake British accent.
Ed Westwick does a great job as the charming, debonair privileged heir to his father’s banking empire and avoids making the expected proposal to his glamorous, long time girlfriend (Sophia Bush) for as long as he can. He spends some time without his family at the chalet and realizes how his life has been planned out for him. His feelings for Kim grow and he is faced with some drastic decisions that will change his life forever.

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