October 13, 2005

Movie Review: 'My Summer of Love'

Just saw Pawel Pawlikowski's My Summer of Love. Here's the basic plot...let's see, Mona is your typical angry, angst-ridden teenager who becomes friends with a rich girl named Tamsin. Okay, so they become friends, have hot and wild lesbian sex and then Mona's Evangelical brother begins to intrude on their affair. That said, let me add that the movie is not about lesbians or lesbian sex or Evangelical Christians walking in on lesbians having lesbian sex. [Okay, now that I've lost the male members of my audience, let me continue.] Rather, this a movie that, although containing a seen-it-a-million-times premise, brims with dead-on insights about humanity.

So many Hollywood movies appear to have been written by bitter adolescents, espousing an adults-are-evil/fuck-the-establishment worldview. And I thought that's the direction this film was headed. But the ending proved me wrong.

After escaping from her brother, we think Mona’s going to be reunited with Tamsin and the two will move away and live happily ever after. Youth, we’re led to believe, will once again win the day. At this point in the movie, I was reminded of a high school graduation speech I heard a few years back. Some little eighteen-year-old twit went on and on about how great her generation was, how they wouldn’t be like their parents, but would actually make a difference, would actually change the world. Don’t trust anyone over thirty, that sort of bullshit.

But, to my surprise and delight, My Summer of Love turned out to despise this type of thinking just as much as I do. Youth doesn’t conquer all. Tamsin proves to be a self-indulgent brat who doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. The problem, we realize, isn’t that adults keep preventing young people from achieving their dreams. The problem is the corruption of the human heart, which plagues old and young alike. Young people don’t live happily ever after, not because adults wont’ let them, but because they don’t have it in themselves to do so. They’re too na├»ve, too confused, too self-absorbed.

This film doesn’t condemn Mona’s anger. It doesn’t mock her dreams. We sympathize with her. Most of us once were her. However, the film reminds us how…well, how dumb and selfish teenagers are. Praiseworthy for their sincerity, yes, but, let’s face it, they really do have a lot of growing up to do.

Along with these great insights, the movie is an artistic gem. The plot is simple and therein lies its beauty. Few supporting characters. Minimalistic yet intriguing scenes. And not many major twists, although there are a couple. The story never loses its focuses, just takes its time to naturally unfold.

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