Summer Things

**1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

To call a film "typically French" is like a Parisian expecting every other Englishman to be Hugh Grant's cousin. The label implies a lot of talk, a sophisticated attitude towards sex and people sitting around eating food that does not involve potatoes.

Summer Things fits that description only too easily. It is light without being floaty, easy to watch without leaving a trace, almost attractive, certainly self-assured and faintly amusing.

A group of family and friends go to Le Touquet for a holiday, during which amorous adventures are embarked upon, jealousies erupt like boils on the face of expectation and no-one has a particularly happy time.

Passion is seen as an intoxicating drug, to be infused with the utmost care. Money is power, even when generously shared with poorer relatives, who resent it. Affairs of the heart are not encouraged, although sexual dalliances can be handled with deft precision by those intimately, although not actually, involved.

There are rules, it seems, as to how to break them. None of these are spoken, simply implied. If Bertrand (Jacques Dutronc), who stayed behind because of work, is sleeping with someone else, his wife Elizabeth (Charlotte Rampling) need not worry. He is far too well mannered to allow her the embarrassment of finding out. C'est la vie. When the holiday is over, things more or less slip back into their proper, if imperfect, places. The French don't shout, they endure. Taking that summer break is a way of experimenting with unsolicited experience, knowing it is only for the moment. Peut etre.

Reviewed on: 19 Jun 2003
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Summer Things packshot
Sexual liaisons and family misunderstandings on a French holiday with Charlotte Rampling.
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Director: Michel Blanc

Writer: Michel Blanc, based on the novel by Joseph Connolly

Starring: Charlotte Rampling, Jacques Dutronc, Carole Bouquet, Michel Blanc, Karin Viard, Denis Podalydes

Year: 2002

Runtime: 103 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France

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