The acting by Nathalie Press, Emily Blunt and Paddy Considine is very dead on. The visual style of this film speaks of Terrence Malick’s Day’s of Heaven.
An uneven plot line in parts mars what could have been a much more powerful film.
As a screenwriter I have written a screenplay titled My Summer Of Hate. While different in subject matter to My Summer of Love, I must admit that this similarity in the titles was a bit too much for me, so I stayed away from this film when it initially came out. Watching it on DVD, I don’t really know what I was expecting, but if nothing else, My Summer of Love was an interesting movie that looks at the relationship and maturing sexuality of two girls over the course of a summer. Nathalie Press plays Mona. A young girl who seems up for anything and doesn’t realize how attached she’s becoming to Tamsin (Emily Blunt). Sadly, Tamsin is one of those emotionally scarred people that you just know has something else happening under the surface. In the end, it just seems inevitable that she will let Mona down. In the shadows of all this is Phil (Paddy Considine), Mona’s brother and a born again Christian. Try as he might, he cannot communicate with his younger sister who wonders where her brother “went.”
There were times when I thought My Summer of Love was going to rise above making fun of western religions (like they’re any better or worse than these other “beliefs” that characters like this think make them “free”), but in the end this film seemed to neither confirm or deny the benefits of simply having a belief system. While in many ways I thought this was a good film, with the three main actors all being very good in their roles, I just get a little tired of films that show problems without offering any solutions other than that everything is ultimately BS.
This thing was painful. Director Pawel Pawlikowski seems like we’ve caught him at the end of a very long day. While he has some interesting anecdotes to share with us, I just think he may have been better served to have done this commentary track when he was more awake. I enjoyed hearing him talk about working with Nathalie, Emily and Paddy, I just wish that this commentary track didn’t seem like such a laborious process for him. While I can completely understand getting caught up in your film as you’re watching it, he seems almost lost here and it shows in how he speaks. I might be wrong, this could be how he sounds naturally, but there didn’t seem to be anything natural in his cadences here.
1.85:1 - Widescreen. This is a very quiet movie. It also mixes steady shots with more jittery camerawork. Some people find this style of filmmaking hard to take, personally I like that it sets the scenes up in a classical way and then sort of breaks them down as the scene plays itself out. There is a washed out look to this film almost as if it’s speaking to the youth of our two main characters. As the movie progresses it seems to get darker both in tone and it’s look, mirroring what is happening between all the characters. When it finally ends, it seems to go urgently into Mona’s face leaving us to wonder what her next play will be.
English Dolby Digital DTS 5.1.. Subtitled in English, Spanish and French. I had to watch this movie with the subtitles on. These characters (except for Tamsin) all spoke in such a way that without the subtitles, I would have had a very hard time following this movie. Again, this is most likely my hearing problem than there being any problem with the audio. There isn’t a lot of music here, just the regular sounds of the English countryside and a lot of dialogue. This is a movie that doesn’t need every word said to sound like it’s the most important thing ever uttered, and as such this film moves at a very quick pace.
This cover features shots of both Nathalie Press and Emily Blunt in somewhat seductive postures. The fact that My Summer of Love also delivers on this is what will make the curious viewers happy. The back features 5 stills from the movie with the largest one being of Blunt and Press looking their worst. There is a description of what My Summer of Love is about, a cast list and some technical specs. There isn’t anything that special about this cover, and sadly, I think the artiness of it might turn prospective moviegoers off.
This is one of those films that starts off, throws you into the characters worlds and by the time you get everything figured out the movie ends. While some things happened along the way, other things came up that I never would have expected. My biggest bone of contention was the way that Paddy Considine’s character was handled. While I think his portrayal of being a Born Again Christian was pretty dead on (especially with people who recently get “saved”), I just thought what ultimately happens to him at the end didn’t need to happen. I really liked his character being the one out of all three that believed in something. I just hate the idea that My Summer of Love seems to be saying Tamsin and Mona are right.
Overall, My Summer of Love was an interesting film that is made up of solid performances, an interesting story (and storytelling style) and those things helped the movie overcome some of it’s bigger flaws.
My Summer of Love was released May 5, 2005.