As a fan of low-budget independent films (especially British ones), and also a major Doctor Who geek, it was inevitable that I would cross paths with A Dozen Summers.
Made on a budget that might cover a Hollywood film's hotel expenses for one evening, this delight puts twin sisters (on-screen and in real life) centre stage, in a tale of two 12 year-olds coping with school and family life.
While this summary may sound a bit dull, the film is anything but that, with the writer and director Kenton Hall delivering the story in a rather unique way.
Kicking off with narrator Colin Baker and roving camera, initially following two other much younger schoolgirls, in a mock wildlife documentary fashion, the film is promptly hijacked by Maisie and Daisy McCormack, who decide that the initial project is too boring and that a movie about their lives would be far more interesting!
From that opening scene onwards, we are plunged into the world and imagination of Maisie and Daisie, as we see the problems they face at school and at home, interspersed with a series of offbeat, and often very funny, fantasy sequences, with nods to various classic and popular films along the way.
The witty script also deals with serious topics, such as bullying and parental separation, but does so in a way that the humour, charm and vibrancy of the story is always at the forefront.
The performances of the twins Scarlet and Hero are natural, believable, and often amusing, while the parents played by Kenton Hall and Sarah Warren deliver scene-stealing moments with their quirky humour.
Like all micro-budget films, because of the financial, and therefore time, restrictions, there are some technical blips, perhaps the sound recording could have been better in a few scenes, and the editing tighter, but that's a minor rock in a sea of pleasures.
For British viewers familiar with the children's shows Grange Hill and Tracy Beaker, there's common territory in A Dozen Summers, only with much more humour and a delightful whimsical style.
So overall A Dozen Summers gets a solid 8/10 for me. I look forward to seeing more from Kenton Hall in the future!
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