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My Summer of Love

Universal // R // October 4, 2005
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Svet Atanasov | posted October 19, 2005 | E-mail the Author

The Film:

For local girl Mona (Natalie Press) living in the beautiful countryside of Yorkshire is not much of an excitement. Each day she has to endure her brother's struggle to rebuild his life as a reformed Christian after many years spent in a correctional facility. Mona has no one to talk to, no one to share her life with, she has no one to love. But when upper class charmer Tamsin (Emily Blunt) accidentally meets Mona the two girls immediately create a bond which they swear will last forever. Living in a world where fantasies seem as real as the never ending summer they enjoy the two girls fall madly in love. But every summer must come to an end…

Directed by acclaimed director Pawel Pawlikowski (Last Resort) My Summer of Love is a complex and extremely well-put together film that delves deep into the intimate world of two girls bound to discover that being young and in love could be a rather disappointing experience. Placed in a town where everything seems to have come to a complete stop and only the summer sun is consistently beating down My Summer of Love reminded me a lot about the artistic power of Sofia Copola's The Virgin Suicides. It almost felt as if the film did not need any dialog at all as its sheer visual power was simply remarkable.

Graced by an excellent soundtrack (British crooners Goldfrapp have mastered yet another remarkable score) My Summer of Love tangles some very edgy issues in its web. Amidst the splendid visuals of Yorkshire Pawel Pawlikowski has snuck in religion, sex, and class division in an explosive mix that contradicts the quiet nature of the film and keeps you guessing exactly where this love story will take you next. Fortunately nothing in this film is what it seems, though one could easily be fooled by its nonchalant pacing, and its multi-layered narrative is well-worth following to the end.

I have seen plenty of comments claiming that this is just another teen movie where two teenagers experience the disappointment of their first love relationships. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I don't quite understand how any film that successfully mixes Nietzsche with Christianity and consequently addresses the brittle world of adolescent love yearning could be characterized as "just another teen movie" but there you have it… some have seen it as such. I saw it as the product of an extremely intelligent director who knew how to reach deep into the hearts of two girls that had nothing but love for each other.

Pure, absolutely flawless cinematic experience that put a warm feeling in me My Summer of Love is a film that offers first class acting. It is not only unusual to witness such high class performances it is downright intimidating to know that both Natalie Press and Emily Blunt are in such an early stage of their careers. Here's a film which proves that you don't need mind-boggling CGI effects, enormous earth-shattering explosions, and a monstrous budget to create a successful film. All you need is a director that knows how to direct, a cast that knows how to act, and a script that leaves nothing but admiration in its readers. Congratulations to director Pawel Pawlikowski, Natalie Press, and Emily Blunt, they have created a film that excels in all three of the above mentioned categories.

My Summer of Love is the winner of the BAFTA Award for Best British Film, an Outstanding Directorial Achievement in British Film Award (Pawel Pawlikowski) granted by the Directors Guild of Great Britain, Best New British Feature Award at the Edinburgh Film Festival, etc.

How Does the DVD Look? Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and enhanced for widescreen TV's My Summer of Love comes courtesy of Focus Features. In synch with their usual high standards Focus Features deliver a solid transfer where colors are perfectly handled, contrast level is immaculate, and I hardly noticed any edge enhancement at all. Some of the outdoor scenes exhibit a minor degree of grain which you will definitely notice but this is how Pawel Pawlikowski intended his film to look. Overall, just a great, great looking DVD which confirms my observation that Focus Features are an excellent company to have on the US market!! *(Please note that all photos in this review are "media-shots" and are not directly taken from the DVD herein reviewed).

How Does the DVD Sound? I am enormously happy to report that this R1 DVD boasts an impeccable DTS soundtrack (5.1 option is also available). With a gentle and rather dreamy score by the always reliable Goldfrapp, the timeless Edit Piaf, and some excellent classic tunes (the Swan-Adagio; Masonic Music Funeral Music in C-minor K. 477) the DVD is simply a delight to watch and listen to. Excellent use of the rear channels, very subtly mixed background score, and just an overall greatly produced soundtrack, the audio presentation deserves a highly-recommended mark. I would like to point out that the true quality of the DTS track is noticeable with the delicate treatment of the distant sonorities heard throughout the film. With other words a fine presentation proving that a DTS track does not need to be loud and bombastic in order to enhance the excellent sound-frame of the main feature. With optional French, Spanish, and English (hard of hearing) subtitles.

Extras: The DVD offers an extremely interesting and revealing feature commentary by director Pawel Pawlikowski and a soundtrack spot for My Summer of Love introduced by the director.

Final Thoughts: My Summer of Love clicked with me on just about any level I can think of. I especially liked its slow pacing and utterly dreamy character which certainly created the proper mood for this extremely well-made film. Pawel Pawlikowski definitely deserves all the praise he has garnered so far. For me personally however the real winners are Emily Blunt and Natalie Press…what a talent!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

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