My Summer of Love


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Rating: R

Nathalie Press as Mona
Emily Blunt as Tamsin
Paddy Considine as Phil
Dean Andrews as Ricky
Michelle Byrne as Ricky’s Wife
Paul Antony-Barber as Tamsin’s Father
Lynette Edwards as Tamsin’s Mother
Kathryn Sumner as Sadie

Special Features:
Feature Commentary with Pawel Pawlikowski

My Summer of Love Soundtrack Spot

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
DTS 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 86 Minutes

This film was originally released in 2004. The following is the description from the DVD cover:

“Kindred spirits from different worlds become entangled together one volatile summer in this passionate, psychological thriller. Local girl Mona (Natalie Press) is naive, reckless and filled with yearning for something more in life. Tamsin (Emily Blunt) is spoiled and bored and trying to escape the confines of her prep-school existence when she draws Mona into her fantasy world. But what started as a magical friendship soon becomes laced with deception and danger.”

My Summer of Love is rated R for sexuality, language and some drug use.

The Movie:
Simply put, I didn’t care for My Summer of Love. It’s not my kind of movie. I don’t enjoy films that highlight disenfranchised characters wallowing in disillusionment, depression and self-pity. That’s all this movie is. I go to movies to be entertained, not to be reminded how little my life sucks compared to the characters on the screen. It doesn’t help matters that the film doesn’t feature a single likable character. Tamsin is an evil manipulator with a hidden agenda. Mona is angry, spiteful, and mocking. Phil is a religious zealot and a hypocrite. The end result is a parade of characters across the screen that you despise every one of.

My Summer of Love will be remembered by most audiences for two things – its depiction of lesbians and Christians. Unfortunately, it’s not very flattering for either group. The lesbian relationship comes across as nothing more than a gimmick for the movie and just another tool that Tamsin uses to manipulate Mona. It has little to do with the overall plot, yet it is prominently featured. On the flip side, Christians are portrayed as a bunch of brainwashed hypocrites and freaks. The movie never took a stand saying whether Christianity was a negative influence or a positive influence on someone. Instead it simply mocks them and leaves it at that. It never makes any real statement or even bothers to put a face on them.

Despite my negative reaction to the film, it did have a few positive points. The rural English setting of the film was unique. Most movies from the UK seem to be set in the bigger cities. This is definitely the British sticks. Despite the natural beauty, it’s easy to see how a teen could become restless in the small town. My Summer of Love also features emotional performances by Nathalie Press as Mona, Emily Blunt as Tamsin, and Paddy Considine as Phil. They all do a good job of convincing you that they really are their despicable characters.

My Summer of Love is very similar to Cruel Intentions and a host of other movies where the rich kid manipulates the poor kid. If you’re into that genre of film or if you like psychological dramas, then you’ll probably enjoy this movie. Otherwise pass on it.

The Extras:
There are only two bonus features included on this DVD. The first is nothing more than a commercial for the soundtrack. The other is a Feature Commentary with Pawel Pawlikowski. He talks about the origins for many of the ideas he had for the film, the hidden meanings behind some of the imagery, the fact that some of the cast and crew got sick during the shoot, and more. He has a lot of interesting ideas behind the movie, but they didn’t really pan out in my personal opinion.

The Bottom Line:
My Summer of Love is really only for art house movie fans and anyone into movies about disenfranchised youth or psychological manipulation. Everyone else will probably want to avoid it.