My Summer Of Love (2005 BAFTA British film of the year amongst other awards) traces the friendship between two very different sixteen year old girls (Mona and Tamsin), drawn together by mutual admiration. The film is a coming-of-age story based on Helen Cross' poignant novel. Working-class Mona (Press) is struggling to cope with the changing nature of her existence, following her mother's death and the release of her brother from prison - now a born-again Christian who has turned their pub into a religious retreat and is making a giant cross to cleanse their quiet Yorkshire village of evil. Tamsin (Blunt) has similar problems of disillusionment, isolation and family resentment but is from a very different social tier - she is rich, spoilt and finding the long, hot summer a frightful bore. I sat down to watch this film with the full intention of hating it, but was absorbed by the subtly seductive, hypnotic brilliance of this engaging love story between two young women. You feel a real bond and sincere respect between the two lead characters, at times comical and at others desperately sad. They make the most unlikely of pairs - in one scene we find Tamsin sitting in her mansion playing The Swan on her Double Bass, whilst Mona jokes that she lives above The Swan (name of the aforementioned pub). This film is many things - it is an intimate story of sexual desire, a religious epitaph, a surreal comedy, but ultimately My Summer Of Love is a story that deals with the harsh realities of life. The imagery is at times uncomfortable; showing you only what you need to see whilst never hiding anything. It is in this that part of the films brilliance and charm lies. It is often graphic but never crass. Sombre yet humorous. Abstract but real. It plays on clichés yet is utterly unpredictable; I've never seen a garden gnome used in such a constructive manner. Financed by BBC films and written and directed by the hugely talented former BBC documentary-maker Pawel Pawlikowski (The Last Resort), My Summer Of Love is the best British film I have seen, possibly ever. Pawlikowski's use of the camera in exploiting the fine performances of the two young brits is beautiful - perfectly complimented by a lush setting and Goldfrapp's eerie soundtrack. It captures a credible view of life in a dead-end town. You may read the films synopsis and feel suitably uninspired, but please shed any doubts and don't miss this original and thought-provoking tale - something rare in a world of predictable plots and uninspired Hollywood cash-ins.
'My Summer Of Love' is a brilliantly crafted and beautifully acted mini-masterpiece from Pawel Pawlikowski, who reforms his working relationship with Paddy Considine after the similarly compelling 'Last Resort' in 2000. The story plays somewhat like a Shakespearean Tragedy in the way that it doesn't make you ask 'What happens?' It makes you ask 'When?'. Not to say that this predictability takes anything away from the film... it probably adds to it, leaving the viewer feeling the gut wrenching hopelessness that is prevalent within each of the central characters at various points throughout. Mona (Natalie Press) is an orphan and practically alone since her brother's (Paddy Considine) release from jail and his rebirth under Christianity. Although to many his transformation would seem to be a vast improvement from his old, abusive self, he leaves Mona feeling cold who is sceptical of his new ways and is screaming out for some familiarity "I want my Brother back" she cries. An introduction to boarding school pupil, Tamsin (Emily Blunt) is like a ray of sunshine in Mona's life and the two quickly begin to form a close friendship. There are a lot of similarities in the two girls with lonliness being the biggest bond. Tamsin also feels neglected by her father who demonstrates his distance at an early stage in the film by failing to notice that Tamsin has a new friend. As the film progresses, however, the differences in the girls start to become more apparent. Tamsin lacks the love of her father she craves, but she has a wild imagination to make up for it... not to mention a lack of financial concerns. This contrasts firmly with the realism and hope that Mona feels and it is not long before we suss out who is the more needy in the relationship. Sexual experimentation is very different to love and the intimacy is enjoyed by both girls but seen as something very different by each. The ending of the film follows a more unpredictable path but is suitable and just as closure to Mona's summer of love. I highly recommend this to fans of Paddy Considine and those who like a more introverted approach to their film watching.
While being an enjoyable love story about the coming of age of two very different girls in the english country side, I always felt that the story had more to give than was presented on screen.
Nathalie Press and Emily Blunt however were brilliant as new comers to the industry and they portrayed there roles exsquisitely, Paddy Consodine however was unconvincing as a reformed tough guy whos morals were slowly broken throughout the film.
The story was entertaining but there were so many more plot lines it could have gone down; either the suicide pact that the girls made loosely, or the ideology of religion represented throughout, and the crucifiction could have made for a compelling ending. but they chose to leave it on a cliff hangerafter. The whole will they wont they fiasco of the last twenty minutes was never formally concluded.
I feel like I'v been heavily critical on a film that was in fact not that bad, but the ending was a real let down for me on what was otherwise a well scripted depiction of in a way unrequited love.
I sought this film out having seen Natalie Press in the BBC's adaptation of Bleak House and being curious to see some more of her work. I personally found her performance in My Summer Of Love to be a particularly honest and endearing portrayal of a working class Yorkshire girl, her desire to escape from her somewhat bizarre home life and her pursuit of happiness with Tamsin.
It's essentially a romance story but there are some truly unnerving moments towards the end of the film as the summer draws to a close and the characters true motivations are revealed.
I found My Summer Of Love to be a compelling, watchable movie but it is unlikely to encourage repeated viewings and the finale leaves the viewer somewhat lacking in closure. Overall though a particularly enjoyable piece of British cinema.
Everyone sees diffferent qualities in the films they view. For me, My Summer of Love is a gem, a little masterpiece of storytelling, acting and cinema. It seems there are no rites of passage from adolescence into adulthood anymore, as there were in earlier times. This means that we have to find our own path through all that confronts us - people, indifference, uncertainty, the absence of real spirituality - life itself. To me the strength of this film lies in Mona's courage to be herself, to keep her integrity, even in the smallest details of her life. She is always true to herself and loyal to Tamsin until she realises she has been deceived. She does not betray herself despite Tamsin's cruelty and inability to confess her loneliness beyond hints, her brother's attempt to suppress his personality with an overlay of Christianity and Ricky, a common enough abusive, selfish, indifferent, cheating older male. While I thought about the film with its beautiful natural scenes set against smoke stacks and housing estates and the ennui of rich Tamsin, her pretensions to culture and her game playing, I also thought of the Swedish movie Show me Love and the Australian movies Beneath Clouds and Somersault. Mona's openness and honesty, a road if followed that is mostly unrewarded and difficult to walk, is the true foundation of love. She asks for nothing but gives all she is. What else matters? The actors and directing are superb and the photography really creates strong moods. I have weatched the movie many times and it remains fresh and unpredicatble each time.
Phil: What is wrong with you? Mona: I just miss me brother. Phil: I'm here. Mona: That ain't you. It ain't. Phil: Oh no, this is me, this is the real me. Mona: I want the old Phil Phil: Well that old Phil, he didn't make me very happy. Mona: He made me happy. I love my brother, he used to be real. I haven't got any family, me home's changed, no one fancies me... [breaks into tears] [hugging Mona] Phil: Oh Jesus watch over this child, watch over her... Mona: Oh no, f*** off! F*** off! Two sixteen year old girls in the summer of their lives. They both live in Yorkshire, however, they might as well have lived on opposite sides of the moon. Mona, lives with her brother, Phil, who has found God and is born again from a life of crime. Tamsin is lonely and bored young woman, born to a wealthy family. They run into each other and become kindred souls. Mona lives with her brother above a pub, and his friends come daily to appraise The Lord. Mona has lost the brother she knew, and she does not like this new one. Her boyfriend has dropped her and she has no one. Tamsin tells Mona she has lost her sister from anorexia, her father has an ugly buxom girlfriend and no one pays any attention to her. Mona and Tamsin find adventure and freedom in the countryside. Mona moves in with Tamsin and they travel on a used motorbike. They visit each other's favorite haunts and eventually they find each other. Romance and love abound, but will it last? Phil w ants Mona to come home, or at least to come to his "Raising of the Cross". She and Tamsin do attend, but they also decide to upset Phil and his whole crowd and they do it in an unimaginable way that will upset everyone. This is a film that shows the acting abilities of both of these women. Nathalie Press as Mona and Emily Blunt as Tamsin; were it not for their marvelous acting and playing their young selves, this movie would not jell. The carefree teens and their life of innocence and wanting is a realm of theatre that must be seen. The filmography is beautiful and the surrounding countryside is full of life. Recommended. prisrob
Everything about this film is perfect. The acting is brilliant, the photography stunning and the screenplay flawless. Watching this film on a cold, dark and gloomy winters evening, I was struck by the vivid, almost surreal cinematography, with its seductive depiction of summer in the Yorkshire countryside. So far everyone has given this film five stars, which say it all really. 'My Summer of Love' is, I suspect, going to become one of those cult films that any self-respecting movie buff should have seen.