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‘Suncoast’ Movie Review: A Deeply Touching & Human Drama – Daily Disney News

As Disney is recovering from one of its worst-ever moviegoing years, here is their first release of 2024: Suncoast , a coming-of-age drama now available to stream on Hulu in the United States and on Disney+ internationally. A semi-autobiographical feature based on director Laura Chinn’s life experience in the early 2000s, the film follows Doris (Nico Parker) and her mother, Kristine (Laura Linney), as they check in Doris’ brother, Max (Cree Kawa), at Suncoast, a hospice facility, as he is in his final living moments. Max is spending his final days at the same facility where Terri Schiavo is held, in which her case was widely publicized around the media, making it unsafe for visitors to spend the night at Suncoast. Doris doesn’t want to spend time with Max and her mother, who sleeps with her son each night and would rather party with her newfound friends (Daniella Taylor, Ella Anderson & Amarr). During her visits at Suncoast, she stumbles upon Paul (Woody Harrelson), who attempts to convince Doris that each moment with her brother is extremely precious because you never know when it’ll finally be it, no matter if you think you’re not going to miss him. These scenes feel like they belong in a different movie. While Harrelson does give his all and delivers a rather impassioned turn as a man who still hasn’t overcome his wife’s passing and wished to have done so many things with her before she ultimately left this world, they don’t feel as important to the film’s structure than the rest of its moving story. In fact, Suncoast has a hard time figuring out how to structure its story: Should it be about Doris’s relationship with her mother and sibling? Or how about her friendship with Paul? No, it should be a coming-of-age tale where Doris realizes what she is missing by consistently making bad decisions with her friends. “Living on the edge,” if you will. Unfortunately, this constant back-and-forth between multiple storylines dilutes Suncoast ‘s core emotional impact, which is about the importance of holding on to our loved ones as much as possible before it’s too late. I pray to God no one ever has to go through the ordeal of waiting for a loved one to pass away as they are in hospice. Unfortunately, this will likely be an inevitability for most people, as death will come to us all. I sadly had to grapple with the loss of a loved one five years ago, and the two weeks he spent in hospice before his passing were one of the most harrowing moments of my life. There was a lot I said in those moments, hoping he would recognize me at least once, but it was a futile effort. Devastated by this, I chose not to return in the days leading up to his death, making peace with the fact that he would eventually pass away. How I still regret this decision to this day. Instead of thinking about protecting myself, there was still so much I could’ve attempted to say for him to recognize me, yet I didn’t do it. By the time I wanted to, I woke up one day alone in my house, knowing that it was too late. Seeing Doris make shortsighted decisions on screen infuriated me because I knew exactly what would happen to her. Not being with your family can completely change your perspective of life when the time comes, as much as her mother and Paul remind her of this constantly. Not thinking about it will bite you in the ass one day, and the guilt of ignoring it will carry you for the rest of your life. The most important storytelling element about Suncoast is precisely that: never forget to call your loved ones and tell them whatever you need to say to them, as opposed to later, because you never know when it’ll be the time. It could happen much later than you think, or it can be tomorrow when your life turns upside-down. It’s an important life lesson that, unfortunately, most people ignore because they think they’re in control of their lives. No matter what you think, you’re never in control. You feel you have all the time in the world until life decides not to. When Kristine confronts a police officer who doesn’t want to let her in the facility to sleep with her son, her anguish at wanting to be there with him at every turn is deeply felt because she understands the weight of the situation she is living in. That scene also solidifies Linney’s performance as one of her best-ever, if not a career-defining portrayal. Linney has always beautifully mastered the strongest emotional tones, but her completely vulnerable, and often darkly funny, turn as Kristine seems to strike a nerve that none of her previous turns have. It’s already one of the most revelatory performances of the year that I hope gets talked about as the apotheosis of Linney’s entire career, no matter how clichéd her arc may be. Linney overcomes them gracefully, while Parker stumbles more than shines. However, she does have a few powerful moments involving Kristine that make up for some of the shortcomings Chinn gives her character. And regardless of its structural inconsistencies, its core message is so powerful that one will leave Suncoast with an immediate desire to take action in ensuring to reach out to their loved ones and tell them exactly what they feel. Don’t hesitate. Call. Schedule to spend time with them. You’ll never know when it’ll be too late. Suncoast is now available to stream on Hulu in the United States and on Disney+ internationally.

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