Eye For Film >> Movies >> Summer '04 (2006) Film Review
Reviewed by: Chris
The time of adolescence is always a troubling one for parents, and the worry may be just as great for those in loco parentis and dealing with exceptionally intelligent but precocious young teenagers.
Miriam and Andre are a well-educated middle class couple holidaying on the Baltic coast with their 15-year-old son, Niels, and his 12-year-old girlfriend, Livia. All four of them are good at handling boats, which plays a big part in the story. Although both children are coping with their hormones and attitudes towards sex to varying degrees, Miriam feels especially protective towards Livia, whose openness can easily be mistaken for flirtatiousness.
Livia strikes up a friendship with an older man, Bill, after going sailing with him. He seems responsible and respectable, but Miriam is concerned when Livia announces she is staying over at his house. Her initial doubts seem unfounded, but then she finds herself in an unexpected triangle, competing with the young girl for Bill's affections.
From gentle, idyllic beginnings, Summer '04 builds into edge-of-the-seat tension as we are first concerned for Livia, then watching in fascination as Miriam is drawn into an impossible scenario. Bill's attempts to maintain his distance are balanced as though on a knife edge, and a seemingly minor accident at sea throws everything into confusion. To top it off, a surprisingly beautiful and very touching ending humbles us with the unexpected depth of insight of one of the characters.
Summer '04 hits the mark, with actors who perform as if there is no camera there, lush countryside that makes you want to put your feet up, gripping action as the two women struggle to handle the boat, and a refreshing absence of background music. Simmering sexual tensions rounded off with heartbreaking tenderness make it a tour de force for all lovers of European cinema.
The sudden switches between breakneck action and slow, languorous camerawork could be off-putting to mainstream audiences, but there is plenty of thought provoking stuff for those who can be bothered.Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2006