As has been pointed out by other reviewers, My Summer of Love does have similarities with Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures. Instead of taking us to the girls’ fantasy realms, however, Pavlikovsky sticks with ultra close-ups on eyes and mouths, silhouettes and lots of ‘dirty’ midshots that don’t allow the outside world into the frame. Without the broader context (we often don’t see the setting for scenes, or the people surrounding the girls in a crowd), we are genuinely sucked into the increasingly isolated lives of Mona and Tamsin.
All the characters here have the capacity for, if not evil deeds, then certainly wrongdoing. This underlying darkside to all involved is part of the somewhat bleak outlook of the film.
The two lead performers are fantastic, and Nathalie Press in particular seems to effortlessly live Mona rather than simply act the part. Paddy Considine’s role is somewhat lacking in substance, which is disappointing after his brilliant turn alongside Samantha Morton in In America. This is typical of the main flaw of My Summer of Love – the supporting roles are too simplistic in comparison to the wonderfully complex Mona and Tamsin. Certainly, the focus is supposed to be on the two girls, but any time spent outside them (which is necessary to understand their withdrawal) becomes dull. I disliked the moments the girls spent apart, and this in retrospect was probably a sign of the effectiveness of the film – I wanted them to be together as much as they did.
The soundtrack provided by Goldfrapp adds to the ethereal quality of the images, and the cinematography certainly helps sell the film. Above all, however, it is the intense performances of the two leads that make My Summer of Love compelling viewing.Rating: