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'The Lifeguard': Kristen Bell isn't 30. She's 29 and 10 months -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

In The Lifeguard, Kristen Bell plays a woman on the verge of 30 who has a meltdown, quits her reporter job in New York, then heads back to her hometown for some peace and quiet. But that escapism comes at price — from her parents’ short-lived appreciation of her homecoming, to her reconnecting with old friends who’ve changed (including best friend Mel, played by Mamie Gummer), to ultimately the titular summer job that defines her new life in the sleepy suburb.

The film is dark and shows a different side of the bubbly Bell. In the exclusive clip below, we see Leigh’s tense conversation with her comfortably empty-nester parents (played by Amy Madigan and Adam LeFevre) as they start to question their daughter’s reasons for escaping the city and just how long she plans to stay at their house.

'The Lifeguard' trailer: Kristen Bell's endless summer -- VIDEO

Everyone’s worst nightmare is that they’ll revert back to their former self, becoming a self indulgent, moody teenager. Right? Well, not exactly.

In the new trailer for The Lifeguard, Kristen Bell is thrilled to move back to her childhood bedroom, reclaim her high school job, and sleep with a minor — to find herself.

Apparently, according to this trailer, she just needed a life do-over in order to be able to become her best 30-year-old (or is it 29-year-old?) self.

Click below to watch a fully grown adult with a college degree have a coming-of-age summer:

Sundance 2013: Kristen Bell on 'The Lifeguard' and working while pregnant - EXCLUSIVE PHOTO

Kristen Bell may be petite in person, but she packs a mighty wallop on screen, both as an acerbic comedic actress whose words can sweetly cut you, and as just a smart gal a lot of girls, and women, can look up to.

In The Lifeguard, premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category, Bell takes a darker turn, playing a woman who quits her reporter job in New York and returns to where she grew up in Connecticut, taking a job as a lifeguard and falling into a dangerous relationship with a teenager. Check out this exclusive image of Bell, above, from the film. If her sullen expression is any indication, she’s settled into the doldrums, a purgatory stage of life with hints of The Graduate.

The star of TV’s Veronica Mars and now Showtime’s House of Lies chatted with EW about her great chemistry with The Lifeguard‘s first-time feature film director Liz W. Garcia, what it’s like filming House of Lies while pregnant (she’s due in the spring), and her reign as Gossip Girl‘s saucy narrator coming to an end with the conclusion of the six-season series. R.I.P!

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Describe your role in The Lifeguard and working with Liz Garcia. The premise seems to have certain similarities to The Graduate, in terms of someone trying to find themselves, albeit with darker consequences.
KRISTEN BELL: I had been looking for something that I felt spoke to me of someone going through a metamorphosis. I find change so interesting. I love Liz’s writing. She wrote this phenomenal script, One Percent More Human, that was set up numerous times, and she had plans for that to be her directorial debut with Kristen Stewart and Evan Rachel Wood, and then she got pregnant. She ended up pushing it, so The Lifeguard was her first movie. She doesn’t steer away from sexuality, which most female writers do. There’s a tenderness, which makes it clear she’s a female writer. The idea of what do you do when you get stuck somewhere in your life is what appealed to me. READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2013: Female directors poised to make their mark at indie festival

Cannes, take note.

Call it feminist, call it a full shift in the zeitgeist, call it the seeds of a movie industry revolution, but the Sundance Film Festival has shoved Hollywood into the 21st century when it comes to the inclusion of women filmmakers.

Last May, the Cannes Film Festival’s competitive Palme D’Or line-up sparked controversy over its dearth of female directors. This year’s annual Sundance fest in Park City, Utah, which runs from Jan. 17-27, for the very first time features an equal number of male and female directors in its 16-film U.S. Dramatic Competition category, ranging from Lynn Shelton’s Touchy Feely, starring Rosemarie DeWitt (pictured in the exclusive photo above), to Liz Garcia’s The Lifeguard, featuring Kristen Bell, Francesca Gregorini’s Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes, starring Jessica Biel, Jerusha Hess’s Austenland with Keri Russell, Lake Bell’s In a World, also starring the actress-director, and Stacie Passon’s Concussion.

EW connected with Shelton, Garcia, Gregorini, Hess, Passon, and Bell, as well as actresses Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael, who co-wrote the saucy Sundance Midnight screening selection Ass Backwards, and Richard E. Robbins, who directed the CNN Films documentary Girl Rising, which will have scenes shown at Sundance. Absolute joy and excitement resonated through phone and email conversations with the filmmakers, who touted the bright future for women directors — Kathryn Bigelow’s name may be the biggest out there these days, but many more are on the horizon.

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