My Summer of Love Movie Review

Akin to 1994's "Heavenly Creatures" withoutthe murder and fantasy sequences -- and with a twist of distrust hangingin the air -- "My Summer of Love" is a squirmy parable abouttwo 17-year-old girls from opposite ends of the social spectrum who findin each other's company a powerful but uneasy release from their individualangst.

Mona (Natalie Press) is a plain and provincial redheadwith an artistic bent, sexually gullible and unsure of herself. She's beenmiserable since her caretaker older brother (the superb Paddy Considine)returned from prison, adamantly (read: desperately) clinging to newfoundborn-again Christianity.

Tamsin (Emily Blunt) is a brazen, sultry hothouse brunettebooted from a series of private schools ("Apparently I'm a bad influence")and seemingly haunted by the death of her anorexic sister while stayingthe summer at her neglectful daddy's manse in the hills above Mona's depressedYorkshire factory town.

When they meet, this pair with nothing in common discoversan addicting synergy between them that escalates into obsession that knowsfew boundaries, be they psychological or even sexual. "If you leaveme, I'll kill you," they swear to each other as if it were the mostloving promise in the world.

Under the unadorned but intensely atmospheric directionof Pawel Pawlikowski (whose similarly visceral "LastResort" was released in 2001), the inexperiencedyoung actresses give such unaffected performances that the film developsa voyeuristic quality as the girls' relationship takes on the momentumof a runaway train.

But the film, adapted from a novel by Helen Cross, derailswith an ending that is open-ended in a way that fails to offer even anallusion to the future for the audience to contemplate. All that "MySummer of Love" needed to finish as stirringly as it proceeded throughits previous 80-odd minutes was a hint as the screen fades to black --something as minimal as the direction a character is walking on a roadin the last scene. As is, however, the aftertaste of dissatisfaction threatensto overwhelm the sensations the film inspired in the first place.

Cast & Crew

Comments

My Summer of Love Rating

" Weak "

Rating: R, LIMITED: Friday, June 17, 2005

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