My Summer of Love (2004)
In the Yorkshire countryside, working-class tomboy Mona meets the exotic, pampered Tamsin. Over the summer season, the two young women discover they have much to teach one another, and much to explore together.
A tale of obsession and deception, and the struggle for love and faith in a world where both seem impossible. The film charts the emotional and physical hothouse effects that bloom one summer for two young women: Mona, behind a spiky exterior, hides an untapped intelligence and a yearning for something beyond the emptiness of her daily life; Tamsin is well-educated, spoiled and cynical. Complete opposites, each is wary of the other's differences when they first meet, but this coolness soon melts into mutual fascination, amusement and attraction. Adding volatility is Mona's older brother Phil, who has renounced his criminal past for religious fervor - which he tries to impose upon his sister. Mona, however, is experiencing her own rapture. "We must never be parted," Tamsin intones to Mona but can Mona completely trust her?
- On a hot sunny summer day in rural Yorkshire, England, Mona (Natalie Press) is a young teenage girl pushing her broken-down motorbike down a hill. While Mona rests in the grass off the road, another teenage girl named Tamsin (Emily Blunt) happens by. She is riding on horseback and chances upon Mona. While walking back to Tamsin's large country house, they introduce themselves and learn that they come from completely opposing background; Tamsin is from an upper middle class family and has recently been suspended from boarding school for being a bad influence; drinking alcohol. Mona, on the other hand, comes from a dysfunctional family of criminals, and her brother, Phil (Paddy Considine), who has recently been released from prison, is the only remaining member of her family still alive (we later learn that Mona and Phil's father died in prison some years ago, and their mother recently died of a drug overdose). Both of the girls seem to regard their lives as mundane.
When Mona arrives home, she finds her brother in their mother's former pub, pouring all of the alcohol into the sink. He has undergone an extreme religious transformation during his stint in prison and regards his activity as part of his preparation for a rally for Born Again Christian converts, much to Mona's annoyance.
That night, Mona meets her boyfriend, Ricky. They have sex in his car, after which he breaks up with her. Mona angrily turns down Ricky's offer to drive her home.
The next day, Mona arrives at Tamsin's in order to escape from the Christian rally organized by her brother. The girls begin to bond as they spend the day drinking and smoking cigarettes while talking about the problems they face in their lives. Their sharing brings to light several of Tamsin's family secrets, such as the fact that Tamsin's sister, Sadie, died as a result of anorexia nervosa.
The next day, Tamsin takes Mona to the suburban house where Tamsin claims that her father is cheating on her mother with his secretary. Not only is Tamsin furious because she states that the secretary is blonde with big breasts, but also because the secretary is not very smart. Mona smashes a window of Tamsin's father's car. The girls then flee the scene, after which Mona agrees to spend the night in Tamsin's house.
The next day Tamsin purchases an engine for Mona's scooter, after which they drive to a small river in the nearby woods to swim. While swimming under a waterfall, the girls share a kiss. The two return to Tamsin's house and Tamsin encourages Mona to try some of her old dresses. When Mona tries on a long red dress, Tamsin states that it used to belong to her sister, and tearfully recounts the process of watching Sadie die. She also tells Mona that she is beautiful in the dress.
Later on, the two are in the back garden, with Tamsin playing Camille Saint-Saëns's cello solo Le Cygne from Le Carnaval des Animaux and Mona dancing The Dying Swan to it. Mona falls to the ground at the end of the piece, and Tamsin kisses her passionately. Later that night, the two girls have sex for the first time in Tamsin's bed, but are briefly interrupted by Phil, who has come to Tamsin's house to look for Mona.
The next day, Phil finds the girls sunbathing, Tamsin clearly topless. She does not cover herself and merely gazes at him as he invites the girls to his Born Again Christian rally, in which he wants to erect a large cross on the hill next to their village. Although Mona is reluctant to go, Tamsin encourages her, and the two join Phil and the large group of Born Again Christians on their way up the hill. Tamsin behaves as if immediately attracted to Phil during the course of the rally.
Later on, Mona and Tamsin explore Sadie's room and find a bag of magic mushrooms hidden inside a dollhouse. They take the psychedelic compounds together. Later that day, feeling the effects of the mushrooms, Mona and Tamsin go to a dance hall where they behave intimately, disturbing the mostly older patrons with their open fondling and kissing each other, which prompts the bouncer to kick them out. They then go back to the river where they first kissed and declare their eternal love to each other, solemnly swearing that they would kill each other if one should leave the other, with Mona adding that she would kill herself. They proceed to make love again.
In the morning, Mona and Tamsin wake up by the river cold and shivering, and the girls leave to have breakfast at Tamsin's house. Phil then arrives at Tamsin's house searching for Mona, whereupon Tamsin pretends to seduce him. He reacts and attempts to kiss her, but she laughs him off insultingly, sparking his fury and violence, as he grabs Tamsin by the neck in a fit of anger. He proceeds to take Mona home and lock her room, forbidding her to see Tamsin. Mona draws a picture of Tamsin on the wall.
Later that afternoon, while Phil is meeting in the pub with his Born Again Christian converts, Mona fakes suicide by pretending to hang herself. Phil comes into her room to rescue her, whereupon Mona mocks Phil's belief in the devil and he hits her across the face. Something in Phil snaps and he reverts back to his violent behavior, kicking the born-again Christians out of the former pub, while Mona leaves the pub determined to start a new life with Tamsin.
However, when Mona arrives at Tamsin's house, she discovers that Tamsin is preparing to return to boarding school (she was never expelled or suspended from school in the first place). Mona also belatedly uncovers Tamsin's deception: Tamsin's parents were never divorced for they were only away on vacation out of the country; then, while leaving, she runs into Tamsin's older sister, Sadie, whose top Mona is wearing. Sadie is in fact alive, and did not die of an eating disorder; this was just a lie fed to Mona as part of Tamsin's idea of summer fun. Mona, feeling disgusted and dejected by the fact that she's been used as summer theatrics, leaves for the girls' special spot at the river.
As Mona sits and sulks by the river in the woods, Tamsin finds her there and tells Mona that it should have been clear from the start that she had to return to school, and their relationship was doomed from the moment they first met for they were never going to have a future together. In explaining why she lied about Sadie's "death", Tamsin tells Mona, "I'm a fantasist, for God's sake." Seemingly forgiving her, Mona slips into the water fully clothed, enticing Tamsin to join her, and the two kiss, re-enacting the earlier kissing scene. As they are kissing, Mona suddenly grabs Tamsin by the throat and pushes her under the water, as if about to fulfill her earlier oath to kill her. Instead she releases her and climbs out of the water. Despite Tamsin's angry shouts and curses, Mona confidently walks away down the road.