My Summer Of Love (2004)
Directed By: Pawel Pawlikowski
Genre: Romance, Drama, LGBT
Based on the novel by the same name, My Summer Of Love explores a relationship between two young women who come from opposite social class backgrounds.
Mona (Natalie Press- Red Road) comes from a working class background and lives above the run down pub ‘The Swan’ who her brother Phil (Paddy Considine- The World’s End, The Bourne Ultimatum, Submarine) is turning into a place of God. Tamsin (Emily Blunt- The Devil Wears Prada, Looper) is a girl from a wealthy middle-upper class background who has returned home due to becoming suspended from her boarding school. While Tamsin’s parents leave her alone through most of the summer, Mona’s brother is the only remaining member of her family who has recently been released from prison. When the two girls meet and begin to talk about their personal lives at Tamsin’s home Mona appears to have an emotional connection to Tamsin when Tamsin reveals her sister died of anorexia while Mona’s mother died of cancer.
The girls begin to connect and develop a relationship where the each of the girl claims she will kill the other if they deserve to leave one another. Meanwhile Mona struggles to retain the relationship between her and her brother because of his new found religious beliefs. While both girls thrive to be loved their relationship is to be torn apart as secrets are revealed.
My Summer of Love is filled with dazzling shots of British landscapes complimented by the glowing sun which is the best of British summers that really attract positive attention to the countries weather when Britain is often known for it’s rain and bad summers which isn’t shown in British films such as My Summer of Love, Submarine and even Bridget Jones’s Diary in some ways. There are often shots where the sun is strikingly bright and creates a yellow light that feels somewhat hazy and like a utopia of British life as the girls live careless and free, riding down country roads on a cheap motorcycle, swimming in exotic forest rock pools and lazing in grassy fields day talking about running away to another country; it’s a dream.
The performances by both leading actresses Press and Blunt are outstanding and Considine’s performance is equally as strong in a supporting role. Blunt appears confident as Tamsin who is strong minded, likes to cause trouble and describes herself as a ‘fantasist’. Press’s character Mona is also confident but develops her confidence much more throughout the film due to Tamsin’s actions that guide Mona to becoming more realistic, and perhaps guide her back to reality, more like the Mona that is shown at the beginning of the film when she tells Tamsin that he aspires to work in an abattoir, churn out kids with a bastard of a man, and wait for menopause or even cancer like her mother, but soon begins to fantasise about a different life entirely with Tamsin.
Winning a BAFTA award it’s easy to see why. The film stands out as a strong British film with notable British elements that are entertaining and traditional to British contemporary films in one sense, but are also quite repetitive and forgettable as the themes are becoming something seen time and time again. There is undoubtedly realist elements involved in the film that belong to British Film-making traditions of the early British new wave but they are combined with elements that we see in Hollywood drama’s also that makes the film slightly enjoyable for a wider audience. Along with solid performances from a British cast My Summer Of Love is an innocent representation of adolescent love. The film flows effortlessly through a tale of romantic and dramatic events that remains engaging throughout.