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My Summer of Love

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Pawel Pawlikowski

Acclaimed director Pawel Pawlikowski's MY SUMMER OF LOVE is a dreamy, poetic ode to adolescent infatuation and the dangerous feelings it ignites. Mona (Natalie Press) lives upstairs from a pub in a small Yorkshire town with her brother Phil (Paddy Considine), … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Dramas
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Release Date: 2005
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about My Summer of Love

Much More Than a Voyeur's Salacious Lesbian Flick

  • Sep 11, 2006
Rating:
+3
Pros: Nathalie Press and Emily Blunt; direction; great cinematography.

Cons: Nothing really.

The Bottom Line: This is a film that dips well below the surface, and reveals many surprises.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

I know what you’re thinking, but really it’s just a happy coincidence that this is my second review of a lesbian themed film in the last few weeks, I didn’t plan it. It just so happens that the movies were recorded back-to-back on my DVR.

My Summer of Love (2004) is one of those all too rare films out of England full of realism, pain, grungy people and beautiful landscapes, saucy language and soft meaningful sex. There is something about British movies that delve deep into human nature in ways that American movies fail to; they take the time to develop characters, to show emotion; they are not afraid to touch the soul; they dare to unfold the soul, exposing it to our a-gaped view.

Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, My Summer of Love opens on Mona, a butting artist, portrayed by Nathalie Press (Lie With Me, Bleak House), pushes a scooter without an engine down a rutted road to end up laying spread eagle in a field of wild flowers. That is where horse riding well-to-do Tamsin, portrayed by Emily Blunt (Irresistible, The Devil Wears Prada), finds her and subsequently befriends her.

Their friendship is casual at first, but their mutual need and loneliness feeds their attraction to one another, and they fall in love, or at least one of them does. But Mona’s brother Phil, an (ex-con who is now born again), portrayed by Paddy Considine (Cinderella Man, Stoned) is the fly in the ointment or so we are led to believe. His life after prison is vapid and he seeks to fill the lonely void with God.

It is Tamsin who has secrets to reveal, games to play, and hearts to break; she is an instinctive manipulator who know just what buttons to push to get inside Mona’ soul. At point she tells the all too vulnerable Mona “if you leave me I’ll kill you,” to which Mona replies, “If you leave me I’ll kill you, then kill myself.” You know for certainty that statement will unroll itself in drama later in the film.

Impressions

My Summer of Love is far more than a story about lesbian sex—of which there is precious little; it’s a story about the vacuum loss can engender in the soul, about the need to belong, the need to believe, the need to love and be loved; to be fancied. And it is about the evils of manipulation. Mona, the lower-class parentless girl is so obviously needy and loneliness that almost anyone could identify with her; I know I do. Tamsin the well-to-do beautiful and (seemingly) emotional damaged leader in the relationship is not all she seems to be, but she gives Mona exactly what seems to need at this point in her life.

But My Summer of Love is more than just the human relationships; the movie is visually beautiful, shot in that quintessential English way that seems to explore detail in ways American movies seem to have forgotten how to do. And the movie is adroitly acted, directed and photographed; My Summer of Love dares to explore the emotional and sexual exploration and bonds between two emotionally troubled teenaged girls in Yorkshire.

The result is a mature film that begs comparisons Kate Winslet’s Heavenly Creatures (2004), but having seen the Peter Jackson film, I can testify that there are differences in the films. My Summer of Love is grittier and more beautiful all in the same film. As Heavenly Creatures was a showcase for Winslet, My Summer of Love is a showcase for English actresses Emily Blunt and Nathalie Press. They were given leading roles in an audacious film and they rose to the occasion masterfully. While Blunt seem to have snagged the more plumb role of the seductress Tamsin, Press’ Mona is the focal point the film revolves around. Let’s hope we get to see more of both of these suburb actresses.

Movie Details:

Principle Actors: Nathalie Press, Emily Blunt, Paddy Considine, Dean Andrews
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Format: AC-3, Subtitled, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.
Number of Discs: (1)
Rating: R for strong language, nudity, sexual situations
Studio: Universal Studios
DVD Release Date: October 4, 2005
Run Time: 87 Minutes
DVD Features: N/a


Recommended:
Yes

Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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