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My Summer of Love

A Miserable Summer

Nothing bonds people quite like misery. In Paul Pavlikovsky's My Summer of Love, two miserable teenage girls bond over their mutually unpleasant existence and with the hot days (and nights) of summer acting as a catalyst, a romance is born. But, just as summer frequently seems all to brief, any bliss for Mona (Nathalie Press) and Tamsin (Emily Blunt) is predictably transitory.

Mona leads a bleak existence with her ex-con brother, Phil (Paddy Considine) in "The Swan", a former pub now converted into an ad hoc temple for Phil's newly found Christian beliefs. Mona spends her days aimlessly riding around on a broken down moped sans engine and smoking cigarettes. Dad is a distant memory and Mom died of cancer years ago.

Sprawled out on a grassy field, Mona is approached by the decidedly upper class Tamsin astride her steed. They are an odd couple these two and while exchanged alluring glances would seem to indicate a mutual attraction, it's initially unclear what would bond Tamsin and Mona.

As it turns out, despite her wealthy, upper class upbringing, Tamsin's family has its share of dysfunctionality. Dad's banging the secretary, mom's got wanderlust, and Tamsin's sister apparently starved herself to death. Heartfelt and painful conversations about their respective hell gets things started for Mona and Tamsin. In the words of Rilo Kiley, "the talkin' leads to touchin' and the touchin' leads to sex and then there is no mystery left."

But, there is still much mystery left in Summer of Love. It's clear this romance is doomed; the question is what will undo things? Will it be Phil's ardent attempts to get Mona to embrace Christianity? Will the return of Tamsin's parents end the summer lusting?

The problem is that the mystery isn't that compelling. It's evident things are going to end badly and neither Mona nor Tamsin are particularly sympathetic. Mona wantonly mocks and insults her brother's newfound belief system. Tamsin is an adolescent lush with a pronounced self-destructive streak. With fucked up parents and loved ones, what chance do these two have for creating a healthy, stable relationship?

While the performances of Nathalie Press and Emily Blunt are solid, it's not nearly enough to redeem My Summer of Love. The film only succeeds in being the frontrunner for the most miserable and emotionally exhausting film of the year. Prozac, anyone?


Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars