The screenplay of “” by Chinn navigates the complexities of friendship, family dynamics, and identity, albeit with varying degrees of success. While the gradual friendship between Paul and Doris lacks authentic emotional depth, Chinn effectively portrays Doris’ journey of self-discovery as she comes out of her shell.
Doris finds solace in her newfound social circle, organizing parties and sleepovers in her mother’s absence. Initially unnoticed by her peers, Doris eventually becomes the life of the party, showcasing Chinn’s skill in subverting expectations. Her friends, portrayed by Ella Anderson, Daniella Taylor, Amarr, and Ariel Martin, rise to the occasion, offering support when Doris needs it most.
However, “Suncoast” struggles to establish a clear emotional core, juggling multiple storylines without fully delving into any. The narrative veers between the hospice, Doris’ social life, her mother Kristine’s struggles, and her relationship with Paul, leaving some threads feeling underdeveloped. Paul’s intermittent presence as Doris’ confidant feels contrived, and the film fails to explore Kristine’s experiences as a white mother raising a Black daughter.
In particular, Kristine’s character could benefit from more nuanced portrayal, showcasing her love for Doris alongside her understandable frustration. The film misses opportunities to delve deeper into the complexities of their relationship and the challenges Kristine faces as a single mother.
Despite its shortcomings, “Suncoast” offers glimpses of compelling storytelling and resonant themes, suggesting potential for deeper exploration in future narratives.