The Reel Review


Doris is a shy, introverted teenager ignored by her strong-willed mother who is spending her free time with Doris’ comatose brother in hospice care. So left home alone, she navigates new freedoms and friendships, in this tenderhearted, coming of age drama starring Nico Parker, Laura Linney and Woody Harrelson. The film is based on writer/director Laura Chinn’s own real-life experience.

Laura Linney and Nico Parker in Suncoast

In her directorial debut, Chinn refreshingly upends one of the more typical coming of age tropes – the wealthier, shallow queen bees Doris befriends turn out to be compassionate and kind. Others – including Woody Harrelson as an anti-euthanasia activist whose motives for befriending young Doris don’t become clear until late in the story – are clumsy. The inclusion of the 2005 landmark Terri Schiavo right-to-die case also feels awkwardly shoehorned into the story.

Nico Parker, Elle Anderson, Ariel Martin and Daniella Taylor in Suncoast

Fortunately, strong performances by its two lead actresses elevate this film’s mediocre screenplay, illustrating that there is no one way to grieve the death of a loved one. Parker (The Last of Us, Dumbo) channels the guilt of resentment from being overshadowed by her terminally ill brother, with Linney (Ozark) a tour de force as her overburdened and controlling mother, blind that her devotion to her dying son is making her miss out on her daughter’s life. Keyla Monterroso Mejia (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Abbott Elementary) also has a touching moment as the hospice administrator. The tears at the end are well earned.


• Terri Schiavo, who was brain dead following a 1990 heart attack that had deprived her brain of oxygen, died at Suncoast Hospice on March 31, 2005 after seven years of legal challenges by her parents who opposed efforts by Schiavo’s husband Michael to remove her feeding tube. Laura Chinn’s brother Max died at Suncoast Hospice four days later.

• Nico Parker won the Breakthrough Performance Award for Suncoast at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.

• Although set in Clearwater, Florida, Suncoast was filmed in Charleston, South Carolina.


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  1. Melinda Jones February 13, 2024

    Looks interesting....