6.9/10
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26 user 58 critic

Summerland (2020)

PG | | Drama, Romance, War | 31 July 2020 (USA)
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During World War II, an Englishwoman (Gemma Arterton) opens her heart to an evacuee after initially resolving to be rid of him in this moving journey of womanhood, love and friendship.

Director:

Jessica Swale

Writer:

Jessica Swale
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2,394 ( 62)
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gemma Arterton ... Alice
Gugu Mbatha-Raw ... Vera
Penelope Wilton ... Older Alice
Tom Courtenay ... Mr. Sullivan
Lucas Bond ... Frank
Dixie Egerickx ... Edie
Siân Phillips ... Margaret Corey
Amanda Root ... Mrs. Lawrence
Jessica Gunning ... Mrs. Bassett
David Horovitch ... Albert
Martina Laird Martina Laird ... Older Vera
Amanda Lawrence ... Muriel
David Ajao David Ajao ... Officer
Thomas Coombes ... Air Raid Warden
Rakhee Thakrar ... Mrs. Evans
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Storyline

Alice is a reclusive writer, resigned to a solitary life on the seaside cliffs of Southern England while World War II rages across the channel. When she opens her front door one day to find she's to adopt a young London evacuee named Frank, she's resistant. It's not long, however, before the two realize they have more in common in their pasts than Alice had assumed. Gemma Arterton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Tom Courtenay star in this intensely emotional story of love's endurance in trying times. Written by IFC Films

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Love. Magic. Hope.

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic content, some suggestive comments, language, and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Alice (Gemma Arterton) pronounces the town name "Youghal" as "YOW-all" (i.e. YOW rhyming with COW). Youghal is actually pronounced just like "y'all". See more »

User Reviews

 
learning from one another
30 July 2020 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. We get our first glimpse of Alice Lamb as an older woman in 1975 pounding away on her Royal typewriter before abruptly and rudely shooing neighborhood kids away from her door. We then flashback thirty-something years to World War II, and find a younger version of Alice still clacking away on the same Royal and still chasing off the local youngsters. Segments with the older Alice bookend the film, but most of our time is spent with the younger Alice in the first feature film from writer-director Jessica Swale, a renowned playwright.

Gemma Arterton (QUANTUM OF SOLACE, 2008) plays younger Alice, a writer and researcher based in the countryside of Kent. She's not just a reclusive writer, but we learn she's holding a grudge against the world ever since she was denied true love while at University. The townspeople view her as antisocial, while the local kids refer to as a witch. When the local school Headmaster (Tom Courtenay) refers to her "stories", she quickly corrects him to "Academic Thesis." It's no wonder she's earned the label, "Beast on the Beach."

During the German Blitz, many London families sent their kids to live with families in the much safer countryside. One day an official brings young Frank (Lucas Bond) to Alice's home for temporary guardianship, and she responds "I don't want him" ... yes, in front of the boy. Frank's father is fighting during the war, while his mother is working with the ministry. Of course, we know that Alice's iceberg of a heart will eventually thaw, and it begins when Frank expresses an interest in the legends and folklore at the center of Alice's research. Of particular interest to Frank is Summerland, the pagan term for afterlife, and the corresponding images.

As an evacuee, Frank is a bit of an outsider at school, but he makes friends with Edie (Dixie Egerickx, THE LITTLE STRANGER, 2018), a spirited young lady who, like most kids, doesn't much trust Alice. It's interesting to watch as Frank and Alice reluctantly grow closer, but this is war time, and joy is sometimes difficult to come by. However, this odd couple seem good for a life lessons to the other.

Penelope Wilton plays the older Alice and Gugu Mbatha-Raw lights up the screen in only a few scenes, and it's Ms. Arterton's best work since TAMARA DREWE (2010). Young Alice experiences visions and memories of a past life not meant to be. The twist is quite obvious, yet no less effective. Ms. Swale's film is sentimental and melodramatic, and probably employs a few too many clichés. Yet, although predictable, it does offer hope; and given the times we are in, a hopeful message is quite welcome - as is the reminder that "stories have to come from somewhere."


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 July 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Summerland See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$28,881, 2 August 2020

Gross USA:

$58,498

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$322,486
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Iota Films, Shoebox Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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