(Review originally written at 3 June 2006)

I wanted to see this movie for a long time. I recently finally got the chance to see it and although it was a good movie, it was not the must-see I heard it was and I expected it to be. This movie was praised at all kinds of festivals and website's that are respectable and thrust worthy when it comes to the 'better smaller'-, mainly European movies. Needless to say that my expectations were high, maybe a bit too high. "My Summer of Love" feels like a fabricated movie that is all too aware of its own style, which makes the movie feel forced and too artificially made at certain moments.

The story and premise are good enough. The story feels very pure and the two main characters are good enough to carry the entire movie on their own, which they also get to do. I don't know, for some reason movies with a 'lesbian' love-story always feel so much purer and perhaps sweeter than any other love-stories.

So it's not really the story that is the problem but it really is the way it is told. "My Summer of Love" is directed by a Polish director and made by a mostly English crew. It has European style written all over it, especially when it comes down to its cinematography (shakycam, sudden zooms). The cinematography all feels too forced and planned. It's not pure enough and it's all very calculated. The cinematography of the nature and the more 'quiet' sequences are good and the capture a nice mood but for 70% of the movie the cinematography simply feels too fabricated. The way of cinematography doesn't feel necessary and it doesn't add enough to the movie. It feels like its only used to make this movie distinct itself from the more 'Hollywood' way of film-making. At times it feels like they wanted every sequence to be pure poetry.

The movie also feels incomplete. All of the sequences are too short and they end abruptly. The movie has some interesting plot-lines in it but the sequences are handled in are too short to make a lasting impression. I wanted to see and learn more about certain plot-lines and characters but the sequences were over before I fully realized what happened and what was going on with the characters. This is also the reason why this movie only is 86 minutes short. The movie doesn't cover enough of the story and because of that the movie feels incomplete and perhaps at times makes a dull and a too simple impression. Because it's all 'too short', the movie never really knew how to capture and set the right mood, of the boring country life in a small English town. It was not like I didn't understood or 'got' this movie, it was just that I wasn't grabbed by it all and it didn't made a lasting impression on me.

The ending also didn't really came as a surprise. The movie constantly gave me the feeling that something wasn't 'right', so I expected a twist at the ending, which also came. So even though the ending itself wasn't predictable, the build up to it still was.

The acting is quite good and pure. Nathalie Press and Emily Blunt are good enough as the two young leading ladies but what will they be doing in 10 years from now? Probably not acting. They are pure but they aren't really actresses. But for this movie that's OK really. I mean that probably also was the reason why they were cast in the first place.

I know I'm probably sounding too negative and harsh but that simply is because the movie just wasn't as good as I heard it was and I expected it to be. The movie is still good and pure enough to please the fans of 'European' cinema but too many moments in the movie feel too fabricated. I probably make the movie sound worser than it is, so please if you're into this sort of movies, watch this one as well. It's a movie worth seeing that still has plenty to offer its viewers.

It's a good movie but not the best example of recent good and pure European film-making.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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