Over the summer season two young women discover they have much to teach one another and much to explore together. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 10/04/2005 Starring: Nathalie Press Dean Andrews Run time: 87... more » minutes Rating: R Director: Paul Pavlikovsky« less
"Mona is crazy with boredom in her tiny village and overcome by the new distance between Phil, her born-again brother, and herself. The mumblings of Phil's prayer meetings saturate the walls of The Swan, the old family pub where she and her brother live alone. Mona pushes herself on an old motorless bike down the neighboring hills. Lying by the side of the road, in the grass, seemingly injured, with her bike cast of to one side, she is found by a dark haired girl on a beautifully groomed horse. From her saddle, the girl asks if Mona's injured. "Nah, just resting," Mona explains, barely raising her head. The simplicity of the answer piques the girl's curiosity, and after introducing herself, Tamsin invites Mona to visit her at the manor where she lives. After a breakup with a married boyfriend, and some very depressing car sex, Mona decides to take Tamsin up on her offer.
"I'm home for the summer. I was kicked out. They told my mother I'm a bad influence on people," says Tamsin, eyeing Mona, with the hint of a game in her eye. Playing lady of the manor, she gives Mona a whirling and off-handed tour of her mansion, accompanied by melodramatic schoolgirl explanations of Nietzche and other philosophers. In response to Mona's sad life story--no father, a mother killed by cancer, and her born-again brother--Tamsin offers up her sister, Sadie, who has recently died from annorexia. The girls' reactions are marked. Tamsin offers no solace for Mona's loss, a seeming shrug that indicates Mona's dreary life is to be expected of a villager, while upon hearing of Sadie, Mona's eyes widen and she gasps a genuine "I'm sorry." Tamsin just measures the response, contemplating how she will play it. The contrast between the girls is superb. Tamsin's pale skin and hollow eyes, and languid motions, contrasted with Mona's messy auburn hair, strong features, freckled skin, and abrupt energy. Tamsin often comments on music and worldviews she's sure her village friend has never encountered. It's overtly patronizing. Yet Mona is no simpleton, and flings her own equally potent and emotionally honest answers at Tamsin's sly questions. When asked what she's intends to do with herself, she glibly answers something to the effect of: "Work in an abattoir, marry a loser, get pregnant, and pump out a thousand children." Tamsin can only raise an eyebrow, while Mona grins at her grim possibilities. The disparity between their classes is a draw and they both appear appreciate what they see as innate cruelty or strength in the other (Mona's hatred of her brother's Christianity, and Tamsin's cool world view). It's a strange love story of sorts. Or maybe a passion story, since love is a complicated subject within this movie.
Mona is the focal point. As the girls become closer she gives more of herself to the friendship. Her tight fists relax, and she laughs more. Meanwhile the already self-assured Tamsin sees Mona's raw moments of beauty, with a caustic mix of jealousy and admiration in her eyes, coupled with a sense of accomplishment. This is never better revealed then when the girls are alone at the manor and Tamsin flings her gorgeous castoff clothes for Mona to try on. Mona dances clumsily, but uninhibited, in front of the mirror, awed by how pretty the dresses are, and suddenly aware of how pretty she might be. Nathalie Press as Mona and Emily Blunt as Tamsin are wonderful young actors. Their eyes and motions speaking volumes.
Pawel Pawlikowsky has an eye for the dull, and often, depressing beauty of Yorkshire--monochromatic hills of sun bleached wheat, occasionally marred by flowering heather, the dreary majesty of Tamsin's ivy cloaked manor, and the shade drenched woods that provide refuge for Mona. It gives the film a sense of weight. And his treatment of the love between the girls is realistic: curiosity, possession, lust, and cruelty. The dialogue is simple and candid. And the ending has a beautiful brutality. There's nothing sweet about it."
A Very Good Film Exploring Two Teenager's Lives
thornhillatthemovies.com | Venice, CA United States | 07/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Mona (Nathalie Press) is bored. And disgusted with her brother, Phil (Paddy Considine, "In America", "Cinderella Man"). Phil, just released from prison, returns home having `found God' and transforms the family pub into a revival hall. He starts to have meetings, trying to transform the lives of people in the small Yorkshire town. Mona meets Tamsin (Emily Blunt), the daughter of a wealthy family. They form a friendship, teaching each other about their lives, sharing secrets, exploring together.
"My Summer of Love" is a very good film. Many things about it are fairly ambiguous, peaking your attention. For instance, it isn't immediately clear when the film is taking place. Everything in the little town in Yorkshire, England is slightly old-fashioned. Very few cars are seen. The two girls dress in slightly hippy-ish clothes. No cell-phones, plasma televisions or computers are in evidence. But I don't think it is actually set in the late 60s. I don't think the film is trying to be a period piece. But because it is ambiguous about this, the film gives itself a certain amount of dramatic license, allowing us to believe in the relationship between the two girls.
As the two girls grow closer, they begin to affect each other's lives in ways that are very natural. Each is clearly bored. Tamsin mentions early on that she was expelled from boarding school. She is "a bad influence". Because she is bored, is a bad influence, and has more resources than Mona, she begins to change the life of her friend. First they are friends, sharing laughs and time, and adventures. But as their relationship unfolds, they become closer and share love, declaring that they will never separate.
Mona is a less complex character on the surface. She follows Tamsin's lead, presumably to the ends of the Earth. A captive audience for Tamsin, the stronger personality, Mona follows because she wants to escape her brother's newfound religion. As her character develops, we sense that she is perhaps stronger than she let on, maybe even steering the relationship to meet her needs.
The two girls become lovers, but the film is not about them being Lesbians. It is about the bond they build and share, and how that bond is threatened. Both girls are probably seventeen and they share experiences like any normal teenage girl or boy would share them. With intensity. As if they were the last experiences they were ever to have. With all of their heart.
There is a lot of emotional power in the film. Mona doesn't really believe that her brother has "found God". It is merely another scheme he has come up with. This makes him all the more unbearable to her. Later, when he comes to Tamsin's house to find her, Tamsin tries to seduce him. This is a great scene, providing a lot of depth to all three characters.
"My Summer of Love" is a very good film about two teenagers who share love, heartbreak and more over the course of a single summer. "
Unpredictable, well-written film
Drake-by-the-Lake | State of Euphoria | 08/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Five stars because I could not predict what would happen next, and because none of the main characters were cardboard cut-outs, as in Hollywood films. You can't point to the older brother and say, "Oh, well he's just a religious nut." They are people, and come across as such, with real faults and virtues, understandable and even lovable.
And, that is why the film will never be popular. Things are not spelled out. You have to do more than just sit there watching and absorbing. You have to think as you watch the film. I have noticed that thinking is very unpleasant for most people, and they will do anything to avoid it. Hence they will mark the film low because "it's thin on plot," or "not enough dialogue." Observe carefully, and read the body language and the facial expressions, in addition to hearing the dialogue. Then, you can understand and appreciate this excellent, beautiful, artistic film. Some of the scenes are just flat-out gorgeous, filmed in the countryside. The whole movie is like a vacation to which I wish I was invited.
Also, needless to say, the two lovers in question are gorgeous. I like the Celtic one best because she has the most color, orange and blue. Just watching her face and her body is justification enough for the whole movie. She also has a pulse, unlike her icy cold, Neitzche-admiring, elitist companion who, while pretty, could never be captivating. She just seems immediately dangerous from the get-go. You would not want to leave a pair of sharp scissors around her.
It's not a terribly sexy movie, in terms of flesh or action, and the lovers are naive first-timers, who probably need instruction on "what to do" and "how to do it". But then again, this ain't porn, but a romantic story about love. And it works as such. Very intelligent. Neat take on the whole "religion versus atheism" bag. I think the movie comes out for common sense in the end, embracing the classic British viewpoint that has prevailed since the Puritans were expelled. "
The Most Dangerous Thing Is To Want More
prisrob | New EnglandUSA | 12/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Phil: What is wrong with you? Mona: I just miss me brother. Phil: I'm here. Mona: That ain't you. It ain't. Phil: Oh no, this is me, this is the real me. Mona: I want the old Phil Phil: Well that old Phil, he didn't make me very happy. Mona: He made me happy. I love my brother, he used to be real. I haven't got any family, me home's changed, no one fancies me... [breaks into tears] [hugging Mona] Phil: Oh Jesus watch over this child, watch over her... Mona: Oh no, f*** off! F*** off!
Two sixteen year old girls in the summer of their lives. They both live in Yorkshire, however, they might as well have lived on opposite sides of the moon. Mona, lives with her brother, Phil, who has found God and is born again from a life of crime. Tamsin is lonely and bored young woman, born to a wealthy family. They run into each other and become kindred souls.
Mona lives with her brother above a pub, and his friends come daily to appraise The Lord. Mona has lost the brother she knew, and she does not like this new one. Her boyfriend has dropped her and she has no one. Tamsin tells Mona she has lost her sister from anorexia, her father has an ugly, buxom girlfriend, and no one pays any attention to her.
Mona and Tamsin find adventure and freedom in the countryside. Mona moves in with Tamsin and they travel on a used motorbike. They visit each other's favorite haunts and eventually they find each other. Romance and love abound, but will it last? Phil w ants Mona to come home, or at least to come to his "Raising of the Cross". She and Tamsin do attend, but they also decide to upset Phil and his whole crowd and they do it in an unimaginable way that will upset everyone.
This is a film that shows the acting abilities of both of these women. Nathalie Press as Mona and Emily Blunt as Tamsin; were it not for their marvelous acting and playing their young selves, this movie would not jell. The carefree teens and their life of innocence and wanting is a realm of theatre that must be seen. The filmography is beautiful and the surrounding countryside is full of life. Recommended. prisrob
Love my summer of love
azpoolbum | Phoenix AZ | 06/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Propelled by splendid performances by Nathalie Press and Emily Blunt, My Summer of Love is a film that you won't forget. My Summer of Love explores class barriers, lesbian awakening, truthfullness, and alienation as two young women discover each other in an idle summer. The well-heeled Tamsin (Emily Blunt) is home from school after being suspened for disciplinary problems. Mona (Nathalie Press) the recently orphaned dauthter of a pub owner struggles with life at home with her ex-con, born again religious zealot brother. The two girls find eachother and the sexual tension between them bridges the wide social gap.
The script is excellent and the movie allows us to witness the deepening affection between Mona and Tam with the creative hand of the director hidden behind the evolution of the principal characters. The sexual tension between the girls grows as the conflict between the girls and Mona's brother intensifies.
My Summer of Love is superbly cast, admirably directed and ultimately believable. The story is captivating, spellbinding, and in the end unforgettable. The DVD is a must buy."