HBO's Betty, about a diverse crew of cool skater girls in New York City, is the perfect escape for the warmer months to come. The series is based on-slash-spun off of Crystal Moselle's independent film Skate Kitchen. Before Betty premieres, or even after if you want to play a little catch-up, you can watch Skate Kitchen on Hulu now.
The film follows a teenager named Camille who lives on Long Island and finds refuge from her overbearing mother and unsatisfactory home life in a group of girls who skateboard and call themselves "Skate Kitchen" in Manhattan and the outer Boroughs. (The name is a way of reclaiming sexist jokes they'd get in YouTube comments about "where women belong.") Like other YA stories, it follows the ups and downs of their friendship. If you don't have a Hulu subscription, you can also stream Skate Kitchen by renting it from Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, or whatever you prefer.
It's based on the true story and the real "Skate Kitchen" club... and many of its members play versions of themselves in the film — including Rachelle Vinberg, who plays Camille. The majority of the girls reprise their roles in Betty as well. Their real life friendship really comes across in Skate Kitchen.
But Skate Kitchen is not a documentary. While the majority of the cast are not professional actors, you'll recognize Elizabeth Rodriguez (who plays Camille's mom) from Orange is the New Black. Jaden Smith plays Camille's love interest. But the names of the real skaters have been changed and the plot is fictional. Director Moselle worked with the cast on improving and developing the script before they even started filming. All of the skating is real — even Smith's. He was cast because Moselle asked the girls if they knew any actors who skated, and Vindberg had met Smith on Instagram prior to filming.
If you're watching the first season of Betty on HBO or are thinking about checking it out, absolutely watch Skate Kitchen as well. There aren't nearly enough coming-of-age movies like this out there for teenage girls to begin with, and the fact that this one gets to live on as a series is pretty rad.