SYNOPSIS: Inspired by the semi-autobiographical story of a teenager (Nico Parker) who, while caring for her brother along with her audacious mother (Laura Linney), strikes up an unlikely friendship with an eccentric activist (Woody Harrelson) who is protesting one of the most landmark medical cases of all time.


Perhaps owing to coincidence or stroke of luck, Woody Harrelson has the tendency to play an older, wiser man, dispensing nuggets of wisdom to insecure teenagers. Notably, opposite Hailee Steinfeld in Edge of Sixteenth and now Suncoast.

Juggling between school, teenager Doris (Nico Parker) has been taking care of her terminally-ill brother, Max for the past six years. The impending death of Max leads Doris and her mother, Kristine (Laura Linney) into checking into a hospice facility named Suncoast. While the death of Max is inevitable, it’s the tense relationship between mother and daughter that is the focal point of this drama.

Suncoast is a semi-biographical drama written and directed by Laura Chinn. The debut filmmaker wrote this story based on her own experiences with her late brother and her challenges in dealing with grief. Her intention is to make a sad, endearing movie yet funny at the same time liked Little Miss Sunshine and Juno.

Well, the end results speak for itself with Suncoast being more emotional and aching than outright ticklish. A lot of screen time is spent on the tempestuous relationship between Doris and her mother. Kristine spent so much worrying about Max that she literally forgot she has another child.

In likely a quiet protest against her overbearing mother, Doris starts to spend more time socialising in school and inviting her friends to her house for parties. It’s not like Doris is rebelling or turning wayward, she is simply starting to live her life as a “normal" high-school student.

Ironically, it’s always the appearance of Woody Harrelson that lights up the narrative. Playing the role of an eccentric activist who lost his loving wife, Harrelson channels the fun, grief of a man who went through the same path of loneliness and dispensing heartfelt advices to Doris. His role as a surrogate father to Doris is a delight to watch, pity the fact that this spiritual advisor only has limited screen time.

As the daughter of Thandiwe Newton, Nico Parker delivers a compelling performance alongside veterans, Harrelson and Linney. All in all, Suncoast is a serious, moving coming-of-age drama that talks equally on the topic of death and living.


Review by Linus Tee



Genre: Drama
Starring: Nico Parker, 
Laura Linney, Ella Anderson, Daniella Taylor, Amarr, Ariel Martin, Woody Harrelson  
Director: Laura Chinn 
Rating: NC16
Year Made: 2024



Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Running Time: 1 hr 49 mins