My Summer of Love (15)

Directed by Paul Kavlikovsky, Written by Helen Cross and Paul Kavlikovsky
Screening at FACT from 5th -18th November 2004

Reviewed by Adam ford

This very English exploration of teenage trauma follows two young women as they attempt to escape from their pasts and their families. It depicts adolescent discoveries and the first faltering steps towards independence, one lazy summer in the Yorkshire Dales.

Mona (Nathalie Press) is the stereotypical working class country lass. Whilst her older brother Phil (Paddy Considine) is busy turning their inherited pub into a spiritual retreat for born again Christians, Mona is out and about, riding her motor-less motorcycle up and down hills. Tamsin (Emily Blunt) is a posh public schoolgirl who plays the cello, drinks red wine and listens to a lot of Edith Piaf whilst wearing a mantle of tragedy like its the latest thing from Prada. Inevitably, lonely opposites attract, and the two soon find solace in each other’s charms.

Unfortunately, the script is very pedestrian, and this promising if clichéd set-up often looks as if it is about disappear up its own search for redemption. But the three principals pull it back from the brink with convincing performances, and an eerily fragile soundtrack by electro-pop outfit Goldfrapp lends the film a certain sentimentality. A little digging revealed that Helen Cross' original book was set during the 1984 Miners' Strike, and it would have been much more interesting to see how our pseudo lipstick lesbians fared in that hyper-masculine atmosphere. But maybe political films just won't sell in these largely apolitical times, unless of course they’re fronted by a guy in a baseball cap.