MY SUMMER OF LOVE
Mona (Nathalie Press) has just got hold of a brilliant moped that only cost a tenner. No engine but still dirt-cheap. She lives with her brother, Phil, (Paddy Considine) who used to run a pub before he found God and poured away all the booze. Tamsin (Emily Blunt) is rich, spoilt and trying to live a life of seductive decadence. They meet on the moors, above their quiet Yorkshire village and begin an intense, unlikely friendship. Tamsin is tragic and fantastical, Mona, rough and witty. Tamsin is charmed and Mona is hooked.
Review by Louise Keller:
A beautiful film about two young girls who are looking for escape one lazy summer, and are dazzled by the promise of love. The mood is that of youthful abandon, bringing a carefree joie de vivre that is absolutely contagious. Winner of the 2005 BAFTA Outstanding British Film of the Year and other festival awards, My Summer of Love is an intimate film by Pawel Pawlikowski (Last Resort), adapted from the novel by Helen Cross. The performances from newcomers Nathalie Press and Emily Blunt are simply outstanding, while the picturesque Yorkshire settings emphasise the isolation for the characters, and music is a powerful driver.
When Press's Mona tumbles off her cheap moped onto a deserted field as she is scooting through the countryside, the first thing she sees when she opens her eyes, is a large white horse ridden by her knight in shining armour. Tamsin (Blunt) is her rescuer, and this unlikely pair of opposites is instantly drawn to one another. Since her mother died of cancer, Mona lives with her brother Phil (Paddy Considine), but she doesn't feel as though she knows him any more. Since he got out of jail, he has discovered God, and has now converted The Swan, the pub where they live, into a spiritual centre where the entire neighbourhood gathers for enlightenment.
There's a connection from the beginning: when Mona first visits Tamsin, she is practising her cello and playing Saint Saens' The Swan. The honesty between the girls is fresh, and the girls share confidences. Tamsin confides in Mona that her beloved sister Sadie has recently died of anorexia, and her father is sleeping with his secretary. They hang out together and talk, drink red wine, listen to music, swim and dance together. 'In France, crimes of passion are forgiven,' Tamsin tells Mona as Edith Piaf's melancholy 'La Foule' plays in the background, and it is clear that Mona has fallen under Tamsin's spell. Their first kiss is one of friendship, followed by one that is for comfort. Then passion blooms and they become intimate. Pawlikowski leaves us with indelible images as the girls declare their undying love for each other, shot in silhouette while an insatiable fire roars in the background. Then as the summer that began with so much promise turns the corner, the kisses turn to despair and frustration.
Like Heavenly Creatures, My Summer of Love is a bewitching film that canvasses the complexities of young girls exploring their emotions. It's an invigorating and sensual journey that draws us like a magnet. If only summer would never end.
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MY SUMMER OF LOVE (MA)
CAST: Nathalie Press, Emily Blunt, Paddy Considine, Dean Andrews
PRODUCER: Chris Collins, Tanya Seghatchian
DIRECTOR: Pawel Pawlikowsky
SCRIPT: Pawel Pawlikowsky (Helen Cross novel) Michael Wynn collaborator
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ryszard Lenczewski
EDITOR: David Charap
MUSIC: Alison Goldfrapp, Will Gregory
PRODUCTION DESIGN: John Stevenson
RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 30, 2005