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A Real Summer (2007)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  10 November 2007 (UK)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 116 users  
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It is 1958, and the final debutante 'season'. Mary, a brilliant young writer and critic is befriended by Geraldine, a seemingly friendly young debutante of a similar age but a very ... See full summary »

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Title: A Real Summer (TV Movie 2007)

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Mary Gilbert / Geraldine
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It is 1958, and the final debutante 'season'. Mary, a brilliant young writer and critic is befriended by Geraldine, a seemingly friendly young debutante of a similar age but a very different background. What starts as a friendship becomes something altogether more unsettling. Written by Anonymous

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monologue | See All (1) »

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Drama

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10 November 2007 (UK)  »

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Spin-off Capturing Mary (2007) See more »

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Intriguing, but lacking more than characters
11 November 2007 | by (Saffron Walden, UK) – See all my reviews

The basic tone of the television monologue, as perfected by Alan Bennett, is well known: pathos (why would the character be speaking to you if they had friends of their own?) and the course of its narrative also: the painful journey to (partial) self-awareness, with a real truth hinted at between the lines. To his credit, Stepehen Polliakoff has ventured into this form without respecting these conventions (I like Bennett, but following a successful season of his monologues, the BBC once commissioned a series of further monologues from other writers, most of which felt dangerously close to parodies of their predecessors). But whether this is a successful experiment is less clear: we get an incomplete story, not a full one, and (in the absence of pathos), the character delivering the monologue comes across as insufferably smug.

In fact, only the first half of 'A Real Summer' is truly monologue: the second half is a dialogue, conducted over the telephone, between two characters (one the deliverer of the earlier monologue) both played by Ruth Wilson. Here there's another problem: that the character of working-class stock presents herself in an almost more aristocratic fashion than her débutante friend; she talks of culture clash, but it's hard for us to see it. In fact, Polliakoff wrote this piece as a companion to another drama that has not been shown yet; and as a teaser for that, it makes some sense, there's certainly more life in it than there was in the dreary 'Joe's Palace', which was also linked in with the same story (although at this point, the connection is still unclear). On its own, it feels more like half a drama, intriguing but lacking in more than just the size of its cast.


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