Sam (Julia Sarah Stone) is 14, shy and learning about the world around her. She cleans resident rooms at the retirement home her mother, Mary Ellen (Leah Pinsent), manages and experiences what the end of life is for some. Befriending Judith (Diana Leblanc), a woman who doesn’t talk and butting heads with a cranky man named Ed (Kenneth Walsh) at the home, Sam does her work tentatively, unsure of these new surroundings. She’s also taking a lifeguarding course and has a huge crush on Lukas (Craig Arnold), her instructor, despite her brother Nate’s (Jamie Johnston) warning that he’s a creep.
There’s also a group of girls who don’t like Sam and make fun of her any chance they get, targeting her quiet demeanour and body. However, she can manage because Sam is thrilled that Lukas may have feelings for her, too, even though he’s a senior in their high school. Things look great for her, but when Ed keeps wandering away from the home, the bullying becomes too much to bear, and she suffers an unexpected loss, Sam has to steel herself against new experiences as she grows up.
Wet Bum is a subtle coming-of-age story that focuses on one moment in a young girl’s life. Her goal to pass the lifeguarding course is overshadowed by puberty, people who may not have her best interest in mind and learning about loss. Written and directed by Lindsay MacKay, the bittersweet blossoming of Sam’s independence will help her learn how to stay afloat.
Review by Carolyn Mauricette
Craig Arnold, Jenna Nye, Julia Sarah Stone, Kenneth Welsh