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My Summer of Love

Director: Pawel Pawlikowski

U.K.| 2004. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 86 min.


Former television documentarist Pawel Pawlikowski’s ?rst feature Last Resort, an incisive study of exploited immigrant lives in a grey English coastal town, announced the arrival of a ?lmmaker who not only works brilliantly with actors but is sensitively attuned to the environment around them. Fresh from a trail of festival circuit buzz from Edinburgh to Toronto and London, this lyrical and at times bitingly intense study of two teenage girls from very different backgrounds con?rms his status as one of the key ?lmmakers in these islands. The central performances, both from newcomers, again leap off the screen as the story charts a seemingly inexorable drift from chance friendship to charged intimacy over the course of a summer in sun-kissed rural Yorkshire.
Nathalie Press brings both a touching wide-eyed innocence and inner sinewy strength as the working-class Mona, who discovers another world when she encounters the rather more posh Tamsin, who’s been expelled from boarding school and is at a loose end at home. In the latter role, Emily Blunt conjures up both an invigorating rebel spirit and a disturbing controlling streak, as these unlikely allies discover that opposites which at ?rst appear emotionally complementary can also prove a very combustible combination. It takes something special to steal the ?lm from another bravura Paddy Considine turn as Mona’s born-again sibling, who’s turned his pub into a centre for Christian meditation (though his devotion to our lord Jesus may not run as deep as it appears), but between the pair of them, steal it they do.

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