ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

"Summerland" Movie Review

Updated on August 7, 2020
popcollin profile image

Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).

Summerland
Summerland | Source

Set against the backdrop of the early days of World War II in England, playwright Jessica Swale’s feature directorial debut Summerland (which she also wrote) is one of those fine British films that we’ve seen dozens of times before, but—buoyed by rich performances by Gemma Arterton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and young Lucas Bond—still manages to squirrel itself into your heart. The age-old tale of a crusty curmudgeon softened by the presence of an adorable, sympathetic child is more ancient, it seems, than time itself, but when done right (as it is here), it has the ability to become something rather special.

Summerland begins and finishes with a 1975-set bookend that’s set in a quaint beachside cottage next to the white cliffs of Dover, where we find the elderly Alice Lamb (Penelope Wilton) pecking away at her memoir while enduring the taunts of the prankster neighborhood kids. From there we jump back in time to 1940 for the bulk of the movie, when a much-younger Alice (Arterton) is sitting at the same typewriter, working on an academic thesis about popular folklore. It turns out she’s always been the village pariah, shunned by the local folk and viewed as a boogeyman-esque witch (“the beast on the beach”) by youngsters. She’s quite happy in her solitude, and the more she can do to make the town shun her, the better.

The wartime practice of London parents sending their kids to the countryside during the Blitz lands young Frank (Bond) at her door; his dad is an RAF pilot, and his mother works in a government office. Naturally, she’s put out at the thought of having another person share her roof, especially a kid (“You don’t expect me to cook for you… there’s the stove,” she tells him), but they can’t help but slowly bond, especially once he begins to show interest in the folklore she’s made her life’s work. He’s particularly taken with the idea of the pagan “heaven” Summerland, which supposedly appears in the form of a mirage on the horizon, framed by the ocean and the sky.

Frank’s stay, which was originally supposed to last a week (before he gets sloughed off to a new family) winds up stretching longer, and Alice’s heart continues to soften all the while. Eventually she warms enough to tell Frank of her past relationship with Vera (Mbatha-Raw), a forbidden fling in the 1920s (which is shown in flashbacks) that ended when Vera announced she wanted a family. The scars are still there, and Frank, if nothing else, becomes the confidant she never had.

Full of raw emotion and a delicate, sweet undertone that filters through virtually every frame—not to mention plenty of quintessentially British humor and stunning coastal cinematography—Summerland is a treasure of a family film (appropriate for, say, 10 and up?). Arterton and Bond are a delight together, and even though it’s a plot we’ve seen countless times, it’s rarely done at this level. This is no mirage. Summerland is the real deal.

Rating

3.5/5 stars

'Summerland' trailer

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)