Jesse Sorensen had it all – a lucrative skateboarding contract, girls, fame and an extravagant lifestyle. Now six years later, past his prime, Jesse is dropped by his skate team. Broke, he moves in with his elderly grandmother only to discover his 17 year old niece, Samantha, is crashing there as well. She is following the same slippery slope Jesse once paved with the hottest new skater in town. Now Jesse must confront what he has spent his entire life avoiding – responsibility – and decide what to do with his own future.
Written by P. Barry and Jesse Gay and directed by P. Barry, Veer! is an endearing drama with a touch of grit that takes a hard hitting look at what happens when you have everything you ever wanted and it all comes crashing down around you while also looking at what happens to stars (in this case skateboarding) who “out age” their careers. It’s a common story from child actors to one hit wonders to runway models but set in the world of skateboarding; it’s a little different, a little more unique. P. Barry and Jesse Gay have given us a story that’s achingly sad, tinged with hope and full of epic skateboarding scenes.
Jesse was once a superstar skateboarder but now past his prime, he’s alone and broke and kept apart from his child to the point where he sneaks into his kid’s room at night just to bring him ice cream or play games. His ex is rarely seen and when she is, her anger and disappointment in Jesse is extreme. Jesse moves back in with his Nana only to find that his niece is also now living there, having needed some “space” away from her mother. Samantha is strong-willed and testing her boundaries, dipping her toes in the skateboarding world via being a “groupie” of sorts. Unfortunately for her, the people she’s hanging with are older and not so compassionate towards a “kid”. Jesse does his best to give her some guidance but she’s having none of it. Their relationship is a feisty one, full of love but full of older vs. younger arguments. Nana is patient and caring, seemingly having no problems taking in wayward family and is the calm at the center of the storm. The rest of the characters float in and out of Jesse and Samantha’s lives, while they each date, revisit old friends and lovers and try to make sense of their lives.
Jesse Gay does a stand up job as Jesse. He’s obviously lost but so desperately searching for what he must do next. People disappoint him left and right while he constantly disappoints himself and others. Jesse is impeccable but the real stand out star is Corsica Wilson as Samantha, with an Alexis Bledel quality about her. She’s equal parts child-like and tiny adult, trying to fit into a world she doesn’t belong in while trying to find herself. Corsica’s performance is a delight, understated and full of nuance.
The cinematography is my favorite thing happening here. The film veers between black and white and color and the black and white segments are an amazing thing to view. They’re beautiful and amp ups the feeling – it’s a thing of pure joy to watch.
If skateboarding is your thing (and even if it’s not), this is a film I highly recommend. Veer! is sure to go down as a classic and is truly a rare type of film to see in this day and age. If you’d like to learn more about Veer!, visit their website, check them out on Facebook or Twitter or swing by their IMDB page.