Eye For Film >> Movies >> My Summer Of Love (2004) Film Review
My Summer Of Love
Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald
My Summer Of Love has been directed by Pawel Pawlikowski with enormous heart and invisible puppeteering. The story concerns two young women who are particularly lonely. Mona (Nathalie Press) has next to no privileges, a thick Yorkshire accent and a restless desire for something more. She has also been lumbered with a brother, Phil, (a particularly memorable Paddy Considine) who is driven towards God, having been transformed into a born-again Christian after a spell in prison. He tries to express his feelings for his sister by choosing to pray for her, instead of being there. This merely drives her further from him, since she feels that he loves God more than his own family.
The other girl, Tamsin (Emily Blunt) is a riveting character, well off, incisive, witty and traditionally beautiful, with a decidedly mean streak. She thinks little of seeking vengeance for wrongs, tripping out on magic mushrooms and, in an especially lovely moment of controlled atmosphere, engaging in a spot of ouja board shenanigans.
The girls eventually meet on two modes of transport. Mona a clapped out old bike, bought for next to nothing from gypsies and Tamsin on an elegant horse. In spite of their different backgrounds, they easily become friends and eventually spend more and more time together. This spell of the movie is the most charming, since the writing and performances are so free. Their relationship soon becomes sexual and the familes try to drive them apart. This is knitted with a very funny sub-plot about Phil's wish to express his devotion to God.
So far, it's all very Heavenly Creatures. What differs is the central concept. Heavenly Creatures is a story of madness, enhanced through intimate friendship. My Summer Of Love remains firmly rooted with Mona, since she drives the story. There are some issues involving deceit, lies, mockery and tempers erupting, but since Pawlikowski ensures that we're tightly reined in, we can believe what we are told. The visual style is dreamlike, with a lazy colour scheme, and carefully eroticised camerawork offsetting the beautiful physical and emotional passion of the two young women.
It's a straightforward enough tale, given life and zest by the performances. My favourite scene is when Phil locks Mona into her room. What she does had my heart aching in sympathetic delight. See it for yourself.
Note : My Summer Of Love won the Michael Powell award for Best New British Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, 2004, but don't let that put you off.Reviewed on: 05 Oct 2004