The repression still hangs about.
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
The Yorkshire moors gave us the Bronte sisters with all their creativity and their repression; today the closest two teen girls, plain Mona and hot Tamsin, come to creativity is making out with each other, but the repression still hangs about.
In "My Summer of Love," modern fundamentalist Christianity, embraced with total devotion by Mona's brother, is the repressive influence threatening to take Mona's freedom and her brother's sanity. The beauty and bleakness of the moors parallels the ambivalent world of young girls waiting to break from relatives who imprison and passions yet to be focused.
Neither the beauty nor the bleakness is fully realized: Director/ Writer Paul Pavikovsky has chosen trendy lesbianism, combined it with young people's need to find love and a home, handheld the camera with saturated color, and told an improbable story that languishes into nothing even with a short 86 min. But most of all the dialogue is lacking any maturity or real insight into a teenage mind that might have revealed secrets with crisp, even reduced, dialogue.
The girls listen to Edith Piaf, whose three husband died before she; one Piaf shot and was acquitted because in France crimes of passion receive special consideration. Mona and Tamsin also swim and kiss in the water to foreshadow some passionate gymnastics later on. Yet I'm not convinced any of this is more than surface artiness that can't get deep enough into their motivations to make me care enough.
I am rarely negative about a foreign film, especially from the UK, but this one just did not impress me except for the Yorkshire countryside and impressive photography. I learned more about the identity challenges of teenage girls from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and those girls did not have the Bronte moors to inspire them.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time," which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com.