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SUMMERLAND – A Drama with Compassion





Review by John Delia

For my drama/romance film buffs and everyone who likes a scrumptious story brought to the screen, check out Summerland in select movie theaters, VOD and other Digital Platforms. The film plays out like reading a good book that you just can’t put down. Sometimes taut with drama, other scenes sublime and involving, the film has extremely good acting and direction to evolve the characters within the storyline.

: Gemma Arterton as “Alice” in Jessica Swale’s SUMMERLAND. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films Release.

Now in her ladder life, noted writer Alice Lamb (Penelope Wilton) has finally sits down to write her memoirs, but distractions are still a problem. As we watch her type away the movie flashes back to Alice (Gemma Arterton) in her early 30’s living in a cottage overlooking the Pacific in Southern England. With World War II now escalating where bombings by the Germans in London becoming more of a concern throughout the British Island, families have been sending their young children to small villages to keep them out of harm’s way.

On this one day while still being bothered by local lads pestering Alice who they think is a “witch” for being a recluse, she gets a visit by a woman with ten year old Frank (Lucas Bond) in tow. The film progresses from there with Alice getting used to her new ward that will be with her for a week. Looking back at her past she shows her vulnerability to a need for companionship and a hurt she will have trouble coming to grips with.

Lucas Bond as “Frank” and Gemma Arterton as “Alice” in Jessica Swale’s SUMMERLAND. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films Release

It may be her first full length feature film for the big screen, but Jessica Swale sure looks like she has been helming good features for years. I enjoyed the movie and how she forms her characters and puts them in motion. She uses their abilities to their fullest with a build that makes you in awe of the story as it gets played out. What’s even more incredible is the twist that you will never see coming and an ending that will have you reaching for the tissues.

Gemma Arterton as “Alice” and Gugu Mbatha Raw as “Vera” in Jessica Swale’s SUMMERLAND. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films Release.

The acting by the whole cast is excellent and very appealing. I could go on about each one of the main cast, but because they are so equal in their roles it’s too hard to single anyone out. I’m certain that once you see Gemma Arterton as thirty something Alice, Lucas Bond as the young evacuee Frank, Tom Courtney as school Principal Mr. Sullivan, Dixie Egerickx as Frank’s young friend Edie who befriends him, and the special performance by Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Vera, you will agree that it’s the perfect ensemble cast.

Summerland has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains brief peril.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A compelling and poignant film for everyone. (5 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Lucas Bond, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Penelope Wilton, Tom Courtenay, Dixie Egerickx
Directed and written by: Jessica Swale
Genre: Drama, Romance
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 1 hr. 39 min.
Opening Date: July 31, 2020
Distributed by: IFC Films
Released in: Theaters, VOD, Digital Platforms

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