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A summer to remember.

My Summer of Love

* Directed by Paul Pavlikovsky * Written by Pavlikovsky, based on the novel by Helen Cross * Nathalie Press, Emily Blunt, Paddy Considine * Focus Features

Anyone smitten with the obsessive love at the center of Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures will go bananas over My Summer of Love, a quasi-British take on a similar lesbian teen affair.

The class conflict between these lovers might have turned the film into a flat reworking of an overdone British story line, but director Paul Pavlikovsky develops the characters so fully that the movie transcends cliche. Uninhibited Mona (Nathalie Press) is a high-energy workingclass kid who lives above the pub her late parents ran in a bleak West York shire town. An open book, she is completely unpretentious--something that cannot be said about gorgeous, rebellious Tamsin (Emily Blunt). The two meet one day on a country road--Mona on a bike, Tamsin on a horse--and quickly develop an obsessive friendship. One day they kiss, then become inseparable lovers. As the film's title suggests, however, theirs is a summer fling. The end of the season brings on a shocking, visceral climax. Yet Pavlikovsky leaves us on a hopeful note.

In a brilliant stroke, he adds a third party, Mona's born-again ex-con brother, Phil (Paddy Considine). His Bible-thumping presence further defines the girls. Tamsin fakes a seduction on the newly celibate Phil in order to expose him as a fraud, and we begin to see the extent of her imbalance. In response, Phil's physically abusive nature resurfaces. When Mona later commits a violent act, we recognize the similar chemistry of brother and sister.

Press and Blunt are hot; they've already won accolades. And the film won the British Academy award for Best British Film of the Year, beating Vera Drake and the third Harry Potter film.

My Summer of Love is a crossover movie; Free-spirited in their liaison, Mona and Tamsin smooch everywhere, unafraid of the provincial locals. The lesbian relationship is central but incidental, and that is a plus for us all.
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Title Annotation:summer MOVIE preview; My Summer of Love
Author:Feinstein, Howard
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Movie Review
Date:May 24, 2005
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