Summerland (2020)
September 9, 2023 6:37 PM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] Reclusive and irritable writer Alice Lamb (Gemma Atherton) finds her life disrupted by the arrival of evacuee Frank, a London schoolboy who slowly breaks through her reserve as World War II rages across the channel.

Also starring Lucas Bond, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Penelope Wilton.

Written and directed by Jessica Swale.

78% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Netflix. JustWatch.
posted by DirtyOldTown (3 comments total)
BTW, that should be Gemma Arterton.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:05 PM on September 9

This surprised us! It really feels like it's going to be a run of the mill Cranky Fart Learns to Love story, enlivened a bit by the interesting time/setting, Gemma Arterton and Lucas Bond giving terrific performances, and some nice direction.

But it becomes so much more than that. I'm going to go ahead and get spoilery, even here at the top of the page, so be warned...

Alice and V's queer love story turns out to be so much more than character backstory. Alice didn't get assigned Frank like jury duty. The love of her life sent him because a) Alice was the only person she trusted to care for him and b) it was a form of explaining herself and the deep need she'd felt to have a family and even c) an olive branch she hoped could reunite them.

It ends up being so much smarter, sadder, and more resonant than a person would expect.

It's still a wartime tearjerker about a grouch learning to let love in, but it's put together quite well so that it can deliver on that in a way that actually feels fresh and has additional layers of depth. They make this hoary old chestnut of a story interesting and relevant again.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:08 PM on September 9 [5 favorites]

I didn't figure out that Frank was Vera's son before it was revealed but it made sense once it was. The movie did a great job of not telegraphing it but also not making it seem like it came out of nowhere.

I love Arterton's messiness and how the movie didn't try to make Alice into anyone she wasn't, even in the end.

(And yay for a happy ending for everyone!)

I expected to like these reasonably enough but I was surprised at how good it actually was.
posted by edencosmic at 1:52 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]

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