After 'Swimming Pool' I made a conscious search for Rampling's other forays into french cinema, and this is one of the surprisingly many i came up with.
'Summer Things' seemed to me a bit like a multiple brief encounter. It follows a family riddled with dissatisfaction and their friends over the course of a summer. The daughter off for a 'naughty summer'in Chicago with the boyfriend her parents don't know about, the mother off with her friends all of whom have terrible family problems themselves, and the father who spends the summer liberated from the wife he is confused by, in the arms of his transsexual lover.
The characters are all linked in such deliciously complex ways - one of the biggest links being how much they need this change, this summer to not make them change their lives as what is expected of films of this nature, but in fact to learn how to enjoy the lives they already have - this idea was so refreshing, and like 'brief encounter' what made it so real. there weren't any epiphanies, just character developments, life lessons and realisations of the fact that the grass is never as green as we hope it might be.
Watch it! :)
I have adored Julie Walters from the first time i saw 'education Rita' and feel her presence and northern nonsense persona was a wonderful dynamic next to Paul reiser and their on screen relationship was so moving.
I usually don't enjoy these 'pushing emotional buttons' dramas - to me the words cancer, bone marrow, long lost family, when put together with film spell disaster, but this was something different. British films being known for their 'realness', made this feel like a personal, private film, only you were being allowed to see the painful process this family goes through when Paul reiser comes searching for his birth mother as a last chance to get bone marrow.
I will say no more, other than watch it.... and please can it be released on DVD???