(film review by: THE THIRD)

In Kate Can’t Swim you meet Kate (Celeste Arias), an almost 30-year-old Brooklynite, who seems to be meandering through life.  Kate Cant Swim is like watching a case study on how to make a relationship drama. With a bare bones cast, first time director and accomplished actor Josh Helman (The X-men Franchise, Mad Max Fury road) explores the dynamics of Kate and the two relationships that have shaped the last few years of her life.

Kate has a boyfriend named Pete (Grayson DeJesus). Their relationship looks good at first sight. They go on role-play dates and seem to have good chemistry, but Pete seems preoccupied with his career.  And there’s Em (Jennifer Allcott), Kate’s best friend, who just returned from traveling around the world. Her recourse after getting her heart broken by her ex girlfriend.  Em surprises Kate when she says her new beau is a beau. Her new boyfriend Nick (Josh Helman) has a cabin and has invited them to visit for the weekend.

The cabin was the perfect setting to create an introspective environment . Being an indie film, the “less is more” approach really paid off.  Once things get settled, you can see Kate observing her friends relationship and weighing it against her own.  She really doesn’t trust Nick but yet there’s a sense of envy there.  Nick is a ladies man and his house is a shrine adorned with naked photos of the many women has slept with.  Kate’s interest in the photos is justified yet somewhat questionable.  The pace is slow and deliberate, giving each relationship time to evolve.  The more we get to know Kate the more it seems she’s going through cognitive dissonance.  Kate’s interest in Em seems to mirror Ems when she first met Kate, but Kate wasn’t gay. But you never really know if Kate is really into Em.  Or is it she fears losing her to someone now that Em looks happy.  Or she’s not happy with Pete. Or she just doesn’t know who she is.  It’s really Kate that cant hack it but the lake scenes are really nice and tie into the title well.  But by the end Kate learns that life is more precious than being judged.  Now will she learn how to swim through the rest of life’s challenging moments?