Friday, October 21, 2011

Chalet Girl: Kim and her financial struggle

Chalet Girl is a romantic, snowboarding chick flick. I found myself watching a chick flick mid-week because when times are tough- we all need to de-stress ourselves somehow and snowboarding videos or random movies are some of my favourite past times next to reading and raiding the fridge for food.

If you want to watch a movie about how not to handle your dough, Chalet Girl is the movie to watch. It's about a girl, Kim Matthews who used to be a competitive skateboarder until her mother died. Since then, she and her father have been unable to recover from the trauma emotionally nor financially. A few years have passed and we find Kim working in a dead end job, living in an untidy house with a slob of a father. I can understand if her father became a slob due to the death of her mother however as the movie plays out, that's not the case.

When Kim leaves to work for three months at a private chalet, there are scenes of her father not knowing how to reheat food, wash up nor clean up after himself. He eats frozen food, directly from the freezer because he doesn't know how to defrost nor reheat. It's pretty gross. By implications of this, he's a 50 to 60 year old, long term unemployed father who doesn't even know the basics of domestic life. His wife and his daughter has really done him a disservice by mothering and babying him. He's like a grown up who needs his nappies changed. As I mentioned previously, simply gross. Fortunately there is redemption in his character once his daughter ditches him for a temporary job on the ski slopes.

The movie is set in the Alps and every scenery shot simply makes me drool. The mountains are beautiful, the slopes look amazing and the terrain parks are awesome looking. There's a huge bouncing air mattress at the end of one jumping ramp and I soooo want to try that out. Our friend TJ injured himself on one of those bouncing mattresses because the strap on his snowboard broke when he landed. Ouch.

For those who are keen on skiing or snowboarding, it's a movie that will bring back memories of when you first started to learn. I was commiserating with Ed Westwick's character Jonny when he learnt how to snowboard because we've all been there and done that. Face plant, head plant and whiplashes when the edges of the snowboard catches.

Even the injuries in the movie were unfortunately all too familiar. Various friends of mine have been carted off on medical snowcats with hospital trips made. We all keep doing it despite our various injuries. We keep pushing ourselves to try bigger jumps and steeper runs. Through trees and rocks and God knows what. Some of us have broken an arm, fractured shoulders, cartileges, torn our ligaments, broken wrist, fractured knee, sprained ankles, injured backs, slight concussions and so forth. Several of them are popping neurofens, panadols, panadene forts and pain killers every single morning before heading out to the mountains. It's like a pharmacy in their suitcases.

So Kim finds herself working as a caterer in a swanky chalet which is ski in, ski out. Her employers are a wealthy American family with two sons. One of them is sleazy and gives me the creeps. The other one, Jonny, is not too bad although almost just as sleazy as his brother. How could he just ditch his fiance on the very night of their engagement party? And that's after he slept with Kim for several days. His character isn't convincing enough. It's the case of 'rich boy falling for a poor girl' but from what we see, they don't really have much in common except for their joy of the snow.

It's unrealistic for the movie to finish up the way it did. Any keen snowboarder would know that it takes years and years to even do the tricks that Kim learnt with just three months on the snow. Even if she had a skateboarding background. Being able to do all those boxes and rails not to mention 1020s and 360s etc all take years and years of practice. And to beable to compete competitively after only three months? Okay okay, it's a movie and I know I should 'suspend my disbelief' and let movies stretch the truth every now and then.

Now onto the topic of Kim and her personal finance skills or lack thereof. She's been working in a dead end job and she needed more roster hours however her boss couldn't give her more work hours so she applied
for a temporary 3 month role to get her out of her rut. Her father hasn't been working so she's been supporting the pair of them. She should have asked him to help find work so that he could contribute to the household finances instead of soldiering on alone and stressed. Being emotionally depressed and distraught due to trauma is understandable but life goes on and he can't expect her to support him indefinitely. He is still her father but he was heavily lacking in that fatherly role. She shouldn't have carried the burden for so long. That was an erroneous judgement on her behalf.

While she was working at the chalet, she received tip money but then was cajoled into blowing the lot on a night in the pub/club. We see her buying rounds and rounds of alchohol. Viewers know that she's got bills to pay at home because we see her father asking her when she'll be depositing the funds. I don't blame her. She's been looking after his sorry ass for a long time and finally decides to live in the moment and screw responsibility. She does take her devil may care attitude a bit further as she splashes out on snow gear, clothing and a hot new snowboard. Sure the prize money is $25k but then again, this movie does make a lot of assumptions in terms of her snowboarding skills.

Working in a chalet and being introduced into the high life, her horizons are constantly expanding. She has the opportunity to go heli skiing twice. Five friends of mine went heli skiing two months ago in New Zealand and it was about $750-$900 for the day which involves about 7 runs down the mountain in almost untracked terrain. They said it was an awesome experience.

Anyhoo, the movie had the typical ending of an American film. Kim triumphs. She even embraces Jonny when she sees him for the first time since she realised he cheated, Jonny's father is smiling at Jonny and Kim's embrace and even Kim's father finds romance. It's all so unrealistic that it comes together like that because real life just doesn't flow that way. Movie critics label those type of endings derogatively as the 'big finish'. It was an enjoyable movie simple because of all the snowboarding and skiing scenes. It's not going to be like the Art of Flight or specialty snowboarding films because it's a chick flick and it was a decent enough romance movie.

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