Summerland Poster

Summerland (2020)

Drama | War 
Rayting:   6.9/10
Country: UK
Language: English

During World War II, an Englishwoman opens her heart to an evacuee after initially resolving to be rid of him in this moving journey of womanhood, love and friendship.

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Xstal 31 July 2020

An endearing and easy going tale of a cantankerous lass who gradually comes to terms with the cards she's been dealt when a wartime evacuee lands at her shore. Perfect Sunday afternoon family fare.

hollywoodsmle 2 August 2020

I rarely write reviews, but was alarmed to see this film have such a low rating. This film has amazing acting; everyone truly is their character. Gemma is Alice! It is a sweet story among an unsweet time, and beautiful scenery will take your breathe away. I truly loved it!

gcsman 4 August 2020

My wife and I saw this in early August at one of our independent theaters, coming out of covid-19 lockdown. We joined a couple of dozen other viewers, socially distanced and masked up. I can't help wondering how the theaters are going to be able to turn a profit with this new normal.

This lovely film is a great starring vehicle for Gemma Arterton, who's become one of my favorites. Still in her mid-30's she's moved on from playing young attractive add-ons in fantasy films (Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia, or the crazy splashy fun of Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) and has built a growing and varied record in films playing lead roles in smaller-scale personal dramas like Tamara Drewe, Gemma Bovary, Vita and Virginia, Their Finest, a great Saint Joan at the London National Theatre, and more. Can't wait to see her in the upcoming King's Man.

In Summerland she plays Alice Lamb, a prickly and reclusive writer who (during WWII) is researching the mirage-like atmospheric phenomenon called the "Fata Morgana". To her surprise and much against her will she is saddled with looking after young schoolboy Frank (Lucas Bond) who, like many other wartime children, has been sent out of London to the provinces to stay safely out of the Blitz. Frank is a basically good-natured kid who's not put off by this apparently crusty "old lady", and the main arch of the plot follows their developing relationship into one of mutual love. Flashbacks to Alice's pre-war association with friend (and more than friend) Vera (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) are shown that fill in much of what we need to know about Alice. In the meantime, Frank strikes up a close friendship with a classmate Edie (Dixie Egerickx) as they follow their natural kids' imperatives to explore everywhere around their little town and seaside.

Those are just the basics, but the last third of the film goes beyond what I just said into more unexpected territory. Two or three major twists are coming, at least one of which is sort of predictable but at least one of which is certainly a surprise. But viewed from the end of the film looking backward, it makes sense. There's no cheating and nothing arbitrary. It's a much more complex story that it at first appears, it's well structured, and (especially) it's nicely paced. The scenery (the white cliffs and windswept meadows of Dover) has a role to play too, but it doesn't intrude on the story. No spoilers -- just go and see it to experience what I mean!

The two kids (Frank, Edie) are great: they're more than just placeholders filling in the gaps between the adult interactions in the story. Tom Courtenay makes a supporting appearance as an endearing, kindly schoolmaster. But this is Gemma Arterton's movie, make no mistake. She's grown into a masterful actress who (like all her recent parts) disappears so totally into her role that you're not even aware that she's acting. She has Oscar-level skill. But without getting involved in big-budget big-publicity roles I'm not sure she will ever get one. Nevertheless, what she's giving us is art at a high level all the same. The Brits seem so expert at crafting these types of movies -- warm, low-key, compelling personal stories with great casts and a sense of history. We could do a lot worse than get more of them.

joerg-181-455759 5 August 2020

From the word go this movie is highly captivating. it engulfs and is a full-onFull emotional rollercoaster going from anxious across to happiness. Seriously well made movie.

slangcares 31 July 2020

This Directorial debut by Jessica Swale offers the viewer some main takeaways-Very strong acting from lead Gemma Arterton. A real powerhouse of an actor that one can see welcoming an Oscar into her home sometime in the next coming years. Arterton manages to captivate the character Alice smoothly for the entire length of the film not once losing the viewers interest to learn more about what makes her tick. Also, Swale offers a cast of adults and children that work together very well with chemistry and comedic timing. Lucas Bond and Dixie Egerickx have a strong future in film and stage ahead of them for sure! Plus, a production team that makes a visual impact using set designs, scenery and colours to hold the greatest cinephiles attention to even the smallest of details like the red push pins Alice uses on her boards. The story is one of magic, family, love and loss with possibility threading it all together. Where it missed being a 10 out of 10 for me was the relationship aspect with Gugu Mbatha-Raw for I would have like to have seen her acting abilities a bit heightened instead of simply radiating beauty. At the climax of the film, her acting tended to be a bit rehearsed and the lines flowed without expression yet Arterton surely makes up for anything that might be out of sorts. The cinematography is beautiful. I highly recommend and am just being picky yet I really respect this film and am so glad it was made. Well done.

ferguson-6 30 July 2020

Greetings again from the darkness. We get our first glimpse of Alice Lamb as an older woman in 1975 pounding away on her Royal typewriter before abruptly and rudely shooing neighborhood kids away from her door. We then flashback thirty-something years to World War II, and find a younger version of Alice still clacking away on the same Royal and still chasing off the local youngsters. Segments with the older Alice bookend the film, but most of our time is spent with the younger Alice in the first feature film from writer-director Jessica Swale, a renowned playwright.

Gemma Arterton (QUANTUM OF SOLACE, 2008) plays younger Alice, a writer and researcher based in the countryside of Kent. She's not just a reclusive writer, but we learn she's holding a grudge against the world ever since she was denied true love while at University. The townspeople view her as antisocial, while the local kids refer to as a witch. When the local school Headmaster (Tom Courtenay) refers to her "stories", she quickly corrects him to "Academic Thesis." It's no wonder she's earned the label, "Beast on the Beach."

During the German Blitz, many London families sent their kids to live with families in the much safer countryside. One day an official brings young Frank (Lucas Bond) to Alice's home for temporary guardianship, and she responds "I don't want him" ... yes, in front of the boy. Frank's father is fighting during the war, while his mother is working with the ministry. Of course, we know that Alice's iceberg of a heart will eventually thaw, and it begins when Frank expresses an interest in the legends and folklore at the center of Alice's research. Of particular interest to Frank is Summerland, the pagan term for afterlife, and the corresponding images.

As an evacuee, Frank is a bit of an outsider at school, but he makes friends with Edie (Dixie Egerickx, THE LITTLE STRANGER, 2018), a spirited young lady who, like most kids, doesn't much trust Alice. It's interesting to watch as Frank and Alice reluctantly grow closer, but this is war time, and joy is sometimes difficult to come by. However, this odd couple seem good for a life lessons to the other.

Penelope Wilton plays the older Alice and Gugu Mbatha-Raw lights up the screen in only a few scenes, and it's Ms. Arterton's best work since TAMARA DREWE (2010). Young Alice experiences visions and memories of a past life not meant to be. The twist is quite obvious, yet no less effective. Ms. Swale's film is sentimental and melodramatic, and probably employs a few too many clichés. Yet, although predictable, it does offer hope; and given the times we are in, a hopeful message is quite welcome - as is the reminder that "stories have to come from somewhere."

hilrnorr 30 August 2020

This movie was a heart-warming tale of how love can find its way back. The main characters were so very well portrayed. I so needed this break from the cruelties of reality. The young man who played Frank was exceptional. It was a very clean and wholesome film, and anyone who finds issue with the content has to be a close-minded individual.

gamead-92067 2 August 2020

Summerland is simply the most beautiful movie I've seen in ages. It's stunning. The story, the characters and the happy ending. IT'S EVERYTHING I'VE EVER WANTED!!! So so beautiful! I legit can't stop crying, but they are happy tears. My heart feels all warm and cozy and happy after watching this movie! I'm ready to rewatch it over and over again.

collindixon-58300 7 November 2020

After giving up on finding decent films in 2020, I came across the trailer for Summerland on Youtube and it pricked my attention as I find both Gemma Arterton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw both very engaging actors.

I'm so glad that i ended up buying Summerland as it's a film filled with emotion, tenderness, strength and vulnerability. As yes the film has a plot of Lesbianism, but it's so well written that it is never the main focus of the film, (as with a lot very woke films) because the story is about love, tenderness and eternal hope.

Gemma Arterton really switches it up her role as Alice and one why you can see why she is a leading lady, her ability to convey so much emotions in her eyes and expressions are that of someone that really knows their craft.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw, even though isn't in the film much, (like with most of her roles) but when in a scene she really does shine and radiates.

If you want to get away from all the craziness of 2020 and watch a film that engages you, fills you with emotions and gets right back to humanity, I can't recommend Summerland highly enough.

HorrorFlickFanatic 5 August 2020

Summerland is a beautiful story told beautifully. Interesting and funny characters; gorgeous backdrop setting; and a sentimental heartfelt story. I couldn't help to notice how much the actor, Lucas Bond, has a strong resemblance to another UK actress Millie Bobby Brown. I kept thinking throughout the film if this was Millie Brown playing a boy earlier in her career or was Lucas Bond a younger sibling of hers. The resemblance is uncanny.

As an American, I find the rural country and coastal landscapes of England so very pretty. I prefer British movies like this more so than films with a London setting. Perhaps because I am a New Yorker, London resembles too much of New York for my taste as I now live near the Rhode Island shore. This film just felt like fresh ocean air on a sunny day. Very relaxing.

I loved Gemma Arterton character. She had me laughing at how much of her personality is much like mine in real life. As a New Yorker, I can be brutally honest whether someone likes it or not and I never been one to care about the opinions of others. I don't go around hurting other's feelings. But sometimes can inadvertently blurt out my absent minded opinions. Foot in the mouth syndrome I guess. Alice felt like the female version of me. More focus on my work and hobbies than to live my life based on other's opinion which has gotten me into trouble over the years. I honestly think it is exhausting to think any other way and not sure why people trap themselves in such mental prisons. But I survived the repercussions even if I did get some scars as a result.

Frank on the other hand is another breath of fresh air for me. When I was a child myself, children were expected to be as respectful to adults like Frank was and I admired that in him. Considering what he was going through, the trauma of being upheaval from his home into the custody of a stranger that doesn't particularly care to have him around. The difficulty of wondering about the safety of his parents during the war. Not to mention the news he receives later in the film. My heart bleed for this child. I really loved the dynamics at play between the characters and how it evolves. How Frank softens Alice's heart is very beautiful.

The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the relationship between Alice and Vera. I don't think it was necessary to add this to the story. But it is 2020 and it seems every film has an obligatory same sex relationship (aka PC virtual signaling). But at least it was done discretely and tastefully, not overblown with a Hollywood style sex scene. The film director kept it tasteful so it didn't harm the film. She directed the film demonstrating good aesthetic judgment instead of graphical shock value.

All in all, I really liked the film and I would recommend it. I did love the twist at the end of who Frank's parents really were. That was absolutely lovely and unexpected.

i-spookie 1 August 2020

Everybody in this film was just great. Gemma Arterton, as always delivers. To me - it's a 10.

Boristhemoggy 5 August 2020

I watched this for one reason alone: Gemma Arterton. However instead of enjoying looking at her,m I was transfixed by her character. She reminded me very strongly of a character in a Diney Costeloe movie. The dialogue is a bit weak in patches and the direction is lacking in a big way. This would be a blockbuster movie had direction and dialogue been better. However, the cast, mainly Arterton, floated this story right through my emotions and from a quick look at a beautiful lady, it turned out to be an immersion in a beautiful tale. Bring out your happy, watch this film.

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