A review of “My Summer of Love” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: *** 1/2

Rating: R for sexuality and language

Run Time: 1 hour, 24 minutes

 

 

The razor sharp bonds of family cut like a knife in this misery-loves-company coming-of-age tale.

Freckled teen Mona (Natalie Press) is learning about life the hard way; working the local pub with her increasingly fanatical evangelist brother (Paddy Considine as Phil) and sleeping with a married man twice her age. 

Bored and alienated, Mona takes a shine to her mysterious countryside neighbor Tamsin (Emily Blunt), a confident young woman on holiday from her swanky girl’s prep school and vacationing at the family’s country manse.

Quick as you can say Heavenly Creatures the pair are inseparable, their shared miseries over Mona’s abusive lover and Tamsin’s philandering dad manifesting itself in mischievous pranks and a powerful sexual relationship that offers comfort in a world where there is little.

Naturally Phil is unhappy with the dysfunctional union and attempts to force his burgeoning religious fervor on the wayward pair.  That interference leads to an unsettling turn of events that pulls the noose even tighter. In true dramatic fashion Mona and Tamsin’s private idyll has its inevitable day of reckoning.

Pawel Pawlikowski has crafted a moody and disturbing love story of manipulation and betrayal with a smattering of spare parts.  Simple but effective performances, the clean beauty of the Yorkshire countryside and airy humor so ethereal it threatens to disappear altogether.  This Summer is hot and sweet.