WHAT TO WATCH | Summerland

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Surly ­academic Alice (Gemma Arterton) gradually warms to Frank (Lucas Bond), who’s sent to stay with her during the Blitz in the film Summerland.
Surly ­academic Alice (Gemma Arterton) gradually warms to Frank (Lucas Bond), who’s sent to stay with her during the Blitz in the film Summerland.

In the early ’40s during World War 2, the world of cantankerous academic Alice (Gemma Arterton) is turned upside down when she’s entrusted with the wellbeing of a young boy.

Good-natured Frank (Lucas Bond) has been evacuated to Alice’s small coastal town to escape the London Blitz and she’s given little say in whether she’s willing to allow him into her life of seclusion.

As Frank slowly chips away at Alice’s surly exterior and they bond over her research into Summerland – the pagan ­afterlife – the source of her bitterness is gradually revealed.

This film is more of a slice-of-life story than war film, illustrating how things go on away from the front.

Summerland
Flashbacks reveal ­ Alice’s romance with Vera (Gugu Mbatha-Raw).

It’s also a lovely queer romance, as a series of beautifully shot flashbacks slowly reveal the blossoming love affair – and its heart-rending end – between Alice and fellow student Vera (Gugu Mbatha-Raw).

Summerland is hampered slightly by a clunky prologue and epilogue and it would’ve benefited from expanding Mbatha-Raw’s role.

Still, it remains engaging.

With excellent performances all round, beautiful visuals and – best of all – a heart-warming story, you won’t regret watching it.

– BIANCA LAMBRECHTS

(Rating: 3/5)

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