- Full of joy and hope 7/28/2020 12:00:00 AM by clairefinlay
Just what the world needs right now,Summerland is the perfect tonic to post lock down life!Go and lose yourself in this charming world.
- learning from one another 7/30/2020 12:00:00 AM by ferguson-6
Greetings again from the darkness. We get our first glimpse of Alice Lamb as an older woman in 1975 pounding away on her Royal typewriter before abruptly and rudely shooing neighborhood kids away from her door. We then flashback thirty-something years to World War II, and find a younger version of Alice still clacking away on the same Royal and still chasing off the local youngsters. Segments with the older Alice bookend the film, but most of our time is spent with the younger Alice in the first feature film from writer-director Jessica Swale, a renowned playwright.
Gemma Arterton (QUANTUM OF SOLACE, 2008) plays younger Alice, a writer and researcher based in the countryside of Kent. She's not just a reclusive writer, but we learn she's holding a grudge against the world ever since she was denied true love while at University. The townspeople view her as antisocial, while the local kids refer to as a witch. When the local school Headmaster (Tom Courtenay) refers to her "stories", she quickly corrects him to "Academic Thesis." It's no wonder she's earned the label, "Beast on the Beach."
During the German Blitz, many London families sent their kids to live with families in the much safer countryside. One day an official brings young Frank (Lucas Bond) to Alice's home for temporary guardianship, and she responds "I don't want him" ... yes, in front of the boy. Frank's father is fighting during the war, while his mother is working with the ministry. Of course, we know that Alice's iceberg of a heart will eventually thaw, and it begins when Frank expresses an interest in the legends and folklore at the center of Alice's research. Of particular interest to Frank is Summerland, the pagan term for afterlife, and the corresponding images.
As an evacuee, Frank is a bit of an outsider at school, but he makes friends with Edie (Dixie Egerickx, THE LITTLE STRANGER, 2018), a spirited young lady who, like most kids, doesn't much trust Alice. It's interesting to watch as Frank and Alice reluctantly grow closer, but this is war time, and joy is sometimes difficult to come by. However, this odd couple seem good for a life lessons to the other.
Penelope Wilton plays the older Alice and Gugu Mbatha-Raw lights up the screen in only a few scenes, and it's Ms. Arterton's best work since TAMARA DREWE (2010). Young Alice experiences visions and memories of a past life not meant to be. The twist is quite obvious, yet no less effective. Ms. Swale's film is sentimental and melodramatic, and probably employs a few too many clichés. Yet, although predictable, it does offer hope; and given the times we are in, a hopeful message is quite welcome - as is the reminder that "stories have to come from somewhere."
- Sweet and Sentimental... 7/31/2020 12:00:00 AM by xstal
An endearing and easy going tale of a cantankerous lass who gradually comes to terms with the cards she's been dealt when a wartime evacuee lands at her shore. Perfect Sunday afternoon family fare.
- Arterton and Swale are a DUO to be reckoned with. 7/31/2020 12:00:00 AM by slangcares
This Directorial debut by Jessica Swale offers the viewer some main takeaways-Very strong acting from lead Gemma Arterton. A real powerhouse of an actor that one can see welcoming an Oscar into her home sometime in the next coming years. Arterton manages to captivate the character Alice smoothly for the entire length of the film not once losing the viewers interest to learn more about what makes her tick. Also, Swale offers a cast of adults and children that work together very well with chemistry and comedic timing. Lucas Bond and Dixie Egerickx have a strong future in film and stage ahead of them for sure! Plus, a production team that makes a visual impact using set designs, scenery and colours to hold the greatest cinephiles attention to even the smallest of details like the red push pins Alice uses on her boards. The story is one of magic, family, love and loss with possibility threading it all together. Where it missed being a 10 out of 10 for me was the relationship aspect with Gugu Mbatha-Raw for I would have like to have seen her acting abilities a bit heightened instead of simply radiating beauty. At the climax of the film, her acting tended to be a bit rehearsed and the lines flowed without expression yet Arterton surely makes up for anything that might be out of sorts. The cinematography is beautiful. I highly recommend and am just being picky yet I really respect this film and am so glad it was made. Well done.
- A wonderful film 8/1/2020 12:00:00 AM by i-spookie
Everybody in this film was just great. Gemma Arterton, as always delivers. To me - it's a 10.