Based on the novel by Helen Cross, and adapted for the screen and directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, My Summer of Love is an interesting story about two girls in Ireland (or England) who find friendship in each other’s company among a sea of desolation.
Mona (Nathalie Press, Chromophobia) lives above a pub that her brother Phil (Paddy Considine, In America) owns. But Phil, an ex-con, has found religion, and plans to close the bar and turn it into a gathering place for fel…ow Christians. She finds this a betrayal, and doesn’t spend a lot of time near him, and doesn’t hesitate to call him a fraud. Through a chance encounter, she runs into Tamsin (Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada). Tamsin lives a life in isolation, her parents are distant, and she had a younger sister that died. The girls are very disenchanted with their familial situations, and find a common bond with each other and fall in love.
The thing that makes My Summer of Love good is the performances that help carry it. In their first major roles, Press and Blunt are both very good (Press almost looks like a young Sissy Spacek), and Considine continues a run of appearing in excellent, lower visibility films. And the story is more than two girls who fall in love, it focuses on the happiness that they’ve found in one another. I thought that the film was very good, even with the obvious “hotness” of seeing two chicks make out.
Some of Pawlikowski’s camera shots with the actresses make it appear that they are cutting room floor scenes from Breaking the Waves, because there’s a lot of handheld shooting that occurs, but he captures the girls feelings for one another very adeptly, and has a surprisingly good grasp at it. The result is a film that is better than one would expect.
Universal/Focus has provided top-quality treatments to its releases, and the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation that My Summer of Love has is excellent. There are some problems with a soft, hazy image, but Pawlikowski intends for that to convey mood. No worries on it.
And as usual, Universal/Focus comes with excellent sounding Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. All the more so considering that there’s a fairly active score on it, including music from Edith Piaf. I’m sure the Dolby Digital track sounded OK, but I am, and will continue to be a DTS baby until something else shows me otherwise.
Aside from a soundtrack spot and some obligatory trailers, Pawlikowski provides a commentary for the film that is pretty good for the most part. There are times where he runs out of steam, but it’s a worthwhile complement to the film.
The film is a very good effort from a burgeoning talent in Pawlikowski, and the performances by Press, Blunt and Considine are all top shelf and well worth the effort. I look forward to future films by all involved, and recommend this cleverly done film to anyone looking for a change of pace from their normal film tastes.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- Soundtrack Spot