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Summer 1900: Queen Victoria's last and the summer Leo turns 13. He's the guest of Marcus, a wealthy classmate, at a grand home in rural Norfolk. Leo is befriended by Marian, Marcus's twenty-something sister, a beauty about to be engaged to Hugh, a viscount and good fellow. Marian buys Leo a forest-green suit, takes him on walks, and asks him to carry messages to and from their neighbor, Ted Burgess, a bit of a rake. Leo is soon dissembling, realizes he's betraying Hugh, but continues as the go-between nonetheless, asking adults naive questions about the attractions of men and women. Can an affair between neighbors stay secret for long? And how does innocence end? Written by
Of course, it is all a matter of personal taste. However this film captures the painful endurance of Leo as his country collapses towards war, a rigid society faces its own internal turmoil and Leo is stripped of his innocence before he is ready.
Set during a blistering summer before the First World War in which Leo stays with the wealthy family of a schoolfriend, the story revolves around Leo's new acquaintances amongst the adults of the family and their circle of socialites (his friend is confined to bed with measles). Leo is drawn into acting as a messenger between Marian and Ted Burgess, a local yeoman farmer.
Beneath the surface is a compelling tension that encompasses Marian, her suitor (Viscount Trimmingham), Ted Burgess and Marian's mother. All of this is witnessed by Leo who has to deal with his burgeoning but still confused understanding of the situation and his own schoolboy affections for Marian.
The story boils to a climax when the oppressive summer finally breaks and the dramatic revelations violently alter the course of personal lives, society and England.
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