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My Summer of Love (2004) (UK)
Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 5:38 pm
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Cast: Nathalie Press, Emily Blunt, Paddy Considine
The official website is here
At the British Academy Film Awards 2005, the film was awarded Outstanding British Film of the Year
What I like?
-- The film (esp. its message) is not as simple as it seems, and is rather complex and open to different interpretations! At the end of the movie, I believe different audience will walk away with a different understanding of what the film is trying to convey or what the ending means
Yet, this possibility of multiple interpretations may cause audience to dismiss it simply as a story about two girls in love (or are they really in love?!). Worse of all, a few may even construe it as a mockery of religion (but is it really?!).
On a deeper thought,
e.g., the film can be about coming of age, or loss and discovery
e.g., it can be about patriarchy at different level (God, father, and brother)
e.g., it can be about control versus freedom (at the physical, mental and spiritual levels), or power versus helplessness
e.g., it can be about religion
e.g., it can be about good versus evil
e.g., it can even be about reality/truth versus fantasy/imaginations/lies/ beliefs etc
-- Oh yes, I like the main theme song too the one with the whistling wow
I believe it is La Foule by Edith Piaf.
-- Also, I like the dry sense of humor in the movie
well, what can I say
-- One of the best scenes:
the scene where the female protagonist impersonates evil
you will not forget that scene *evil grin*
I actually recommend the film and would encourage interpretation of its message and ending!
Once again, some people may dismiss it simply as a movie about lesbians or religion but I would like to believe there is something more am I crediting the film too much?! Hee hee
Re: My Summer of Love (2004) (UK)
Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 3:20 pm
In the opening scene of My Summer of Love, we witness a teenager, Mona (Nathalie Press), incessantly drawing on her rough-textured bedroom wall which in many ways resembles her own freckled skin (imagine a very young Sissy Spacek). Were not exactly sure whose picture it is, but its probably not of her mother who's recently died but Mona treats it rather matter-of-factly, or her brother, Phil (Paddy Considine), an ex-con who has recently gotten out of prison as a Christian evangelicalist, much to her chagrin. So, it is probably herself, a trapped soul in the reclusive and self-sufficient West Yorkshire town, which she perhaps serves up with the thick and square outer frame of the picture. Mona now lives with her brother who is in the process of turning their old pub into a plain prayer meeting spot for the locals, and hes convinced that his sister is being gripped by the devil and she needs help.
Help for Mona arrives in a different shape, though. One afternoon, as shes laying on grass by the roadside after being tired of pushing her motorless bike, she encounters a brunette beauty looking down on her. The charting of their socio-economic differences couldnt be any more persuasive here. Surrounded by timeless milieu, the scene resembles something which couldve easily taken place a couple of centuries ago with a princess and a commoner. The well-cultured and intelligent brunette, Tamsin (Emily Blunt), who is, in fact, on a white horse may not be a princess but she certainly lives like one in a sprawling mansion. They introduce themselves while realizing how much they need each other in their lives. Needless to say, it doesnt take very long for the two to become extremely close to each other. Tamsin informs Mona about her sister who has recently died while introducing her extravagant lifestyle and influences, including Nietzsche ("God is dead" she says, much to Monas delight), Freud, and French classical singer/icon dith Piaf (who, according to Tamsin, committed a few crimes of passion).
My Summer of Love is the third feature directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, someone with a strong background as a documentarian. Born in Poland, but he has spent much of his life in the U.K. so it's surprising to see that theres nothing remotely "British" about his filmmaking (although it could be said that his 2000 feature, Last Resort, had a Loachian authority to it). In My Summer of Love, Pawlikowskis eye for the naturalistic settings is keen enough to remind a viewer of what a Terrence Malick land looks like. Hes a visual storyteller, no doubt about it, so instead of relying on narrative markers he swiftly changes the mood and tone with his framing devices while abstractly concentrating on, say, running water (near Monas favorite rock), or a Jesus' cross atop a hill (a project undertaken by Phil to cement his beliefs.) On the other hand, his evocative score done by Alison Goldstepp not only features Mozart and the mournfulness of the aforementioned Piaf, but also Asha Bhonsle, blithely crooning a 70s style hippie number titled "Hare Rama Hare Krishna."
The film is a loose adaptation of Helen Crosss novel which is said to be a denser piece. My Summer of Love is "light," but its lyricism is textured, while the impressionistic narrative only deepens the more one is willing to ponder it. It could be argued that Pawlikowski fails to bring a strong third angle to his tale which couldve possibly help thrust the tension on a couple of occasions. Although, he did stage a great sequence where ones sexuality which is inherent goes up against another's beliefs which are acquired and it's no match. He has certainly gotten strong performances from the entire cast. Considines Phil is underwritten but he brings a strong emotional front; thankfully the director doesnt use him as a cop-out in anyway. Nathalie Press possesses a right amount of vulnerability and toughness for her role. But the breakout performance here comes from Emily Blunt. Her cat-like sensuality and cunningness is at once subtle and it serves its proper purpose once the role playing starts. However, Pawlikowski isnt a Neil LaBute-type, so he avoids the narcissism and doesnt try to go down the path which these kind of films usually end up taking, and ultimately makes the right decision: the power is shared.
Re: My Summer of Love (2004) (UK)
Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 4:11 pm
I caught a screening of "My Summer of Love" the other night, and i was pretty impressed. It was kinda nice to see a female romance on the big screen!!! But besides the interesting plot, the music was good too. There were some new songs by Goldfrapp which were great. I think the soundtrack is due out on July 21st, so it should be something to hear!!!!
Re: My Summer of Love (2004) (UK)
Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 4:26 pm
Courtesy of www.moviexclusive.com/review/mysummeroflove/mysummeroflove.htm
Its a cruel summer indeed. My Summer of Love stands as almost a scornful swipe against its title. Writer-director Pawel Pawlikowski shows the impudence of being that age when romance is almost as grave as life and death and important enough to be swept away in a tide of hormones and irrationality. In a small idyllic village, just north of England, a snapshot of an intoxicating and sultry femme relationship between a nave native and a worldly, cultured out-of-towner starts to bloom just as the hillside flowers start to.
Seductive and sensual, Pawlikowskis naturalist tones and earthy colours complement the summers languorous transience. Class warfare, religious transgressions and misandry bubble below the surface but strong performances from each of its main cast give a trenchant sense of knowing of painful adolescence to the film during a fateful event of a young girls life.
Gravelly voiced, booze-guzzling young Mona (Nathalie Press) craves for a distraction this season. Her brother, Phil (Paddy Considine) is an ex-convict, born-again Christian seeking emotional refuge in the towns sect of charismatic Christians. When we first meet him, he drains the bottles of alcohol, intent on making their bar a new haven for his religious congregations. Naturally, Mona spends more time with the girl she met during a balmy afternoon on the grassy knolls. Almost chivalrously plucking her out of the dense reality she faces during the summer, Tamsin (Emily Blunt) strides up to her on a white horse and introduces her to a different life.
We dont know every detail in their lives, except what they tell us. But behind their silence and pensive smiles, they hide their fair share of hurt. Having nothing in common except plenty of time, contempt for the lack of parental figures and a growing curiosity of each other, they give themselves to the heat of the moment. Perhaps they are drawn together by default, as we dont see anyone their age about town. It just goes to show how self-contained their world is when they are together. The hypnotic relationship breezes by with no concept of time. Only when outside factors start to come knocking do these girls find out how tenuous their ad hoc affair actually is.
Phils eventual involvement is unsettling, in a good way. Although a mere bystander to the girls, he proves to be the most intriguing character. Considine strikes an unnerving balance between brute and a man in deep denial, often grounding the films buoyant mood. He anchors himself to Mona, both realising they only have one another and just as afraid being alone. Phil finds himself drawn towards religion as Mona finds herself drifting towards Tamsin.
Blunt is remarkably restraint as the boarding school troublemaker and wayward patrician. Defiantly decadent in her conceit, Tamsin deigns about the neighbourhood with Mona. In a loose assembly of scenes showing their activities during the summer, theres a sense of discovery within the physical and emotional blossoming of Mona. Her inward struggles and resignation to a life paved with banalities and dull expectations are slowly put on the backburner whenever shes with the girl she knows can never stay with her. A hypnotic film. Not so much about growing up, as it is about living young.