My Summer of Love

By Moira Sullivan 

Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski did post graduate studies in German literature before turning to film direction. In 2001 he received a BAFTA for being the most promising newcomer in British film and My Summer of Love won another special BAFTA in 2004 for best British film.
My Summer of Love stars Emily Blunt as Tamsin and Natalie Press as Mona, and is the story of two teenagers who meet during one summer.  The class difference is striking since Tamsin lives in a mansion and Mona lives in a pub called "The Swan" that her brother Phil (Paddy Considine) has converted into a prayer center.  Fresh out of prison he has found Jesus and decides to save himself, his community and his sister from temptation.
The emphasis of the film is on the relationship between Tamsin and Mona who have an adventurous summer exploring nature and human relationships including a special one that they embark on with each other. Mona hasn’t been very wise in picking mates before Tamsin and the two of them go to confront the wife of an older man who in the past had used her. They soon seem to compensate for the losses they have experienced at an early age: parenting, role models, and security and place their faith in each other.
Tamsin is a notorious liar and claims in one scene that Edith Piaf had three lovers who died mysteriously and one of them she stabbed with a fork, but nothing happened to her, she claims, because crimes of passion are forgiven in France. As Piaf’s "La Foule" spins on the record player, Tamsin with cigarette hanging out of her mouth dances with Mona around the room.  
Tamsin is actually quite seductive and predatory even if Mona has the real guts of the two and confronts her problems head on. But Tamsin is quite good in seeing through the hypocrisy of Mona’s brother and plays him as she obviously has done Mona.
Everything in Pawel Pawlikowski’s film is exceptional–the dialogue, costume, camera work and editing. The surprise ending of the film makes perfect sense and Pawlikowski’s background in literature serves him well.
It is clear that Emily Blunt was destined to be a major motion picture actress and her charisma shines through in this early film.  Natalie Press is also excellent although her career did not take off as much as Blunt’s. My Summer of Love is the kind of film that could have gone on much longer since every moment is precious and it well deserves the awards it received.
For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan

© 2011 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 03/16/11
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