Ad Spot

THE MOVIE GUY — Gemma Arterton shines in ‘Summerland’

Summerland is a period drama with some sublime moments that brought me to tears. It also had a few scenes that had me rolling my eyes in disbelief, but the good outweighs the bad in this movie, thanks primarily to a superb performance by Gemma Arterton.

Arterton pays Alice, a young woman living in the seaside town on Kent during the worst part of World War II. She’s a cranky misanthrope whose life is turned upside down by the unexpected arrival of a young boy named Frank (Lucas Bond).

He’s one of the many children evacuated from London in order to protect them from the German bombing campaign.

Summerland turns out to be a maternal love story, and I was quite moved watching this cold-hearted woman open her heart to her young charge. This relationship forms the heart of this film and is the reason why Summerland is so affecting.

There is another love story in the film that doesn’t work as well. We learn that Alice had been in love with another woman (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and their break up is the reason why Alice fled to the seashore town in the first place.

She is still numb from the pain, but the care of an innocent child might just be the thing to bring her back to life. Unfortunately, the film simply doesn’t spend enough time on this forbidden romance to make it into anything more than just character set up.

Summerland looks great from a production point of view, but that’s a given when so much time is spent filming at the seashore. It also features several British character actors who are a welcome addition during small moments.

As for the eye rolling moments — some of the events are a bit too forced to be believable. Frank runs away, for example, and somehow this elementary school-aged child manages to take a train to London in the middle of the war and arrive at his home just as it’s destroyed by German bombs. That’s a heck of a coincidence, and honestly, it’s one that doesn’t offer nearly as much impact as the quiet moments between a broken woman and a scared young boy staring up at the clouds.

This is never more evident than in my favorite movie moment of the year so far. Alice confesses that she once loved a woman and when Frank says that it’s okay with him, the rush of emotions that flood across Alice’s face are heart-breaking and hope-inducing. It’s this moment that has me still tearing up a full week after watching the movie.

It’s this moment that has me willing to forgive the film’s other flaws and simply bask in the emotions of this unexpected gem of a movie.

Summerland is streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, YouTube, Xfinity, VUDU, Google Play and Fandango Now.

Movie reviews by Sean McBride, “The Movie Guy,” are published each week in The Port Arthur News and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@sbgtv.com.

 

Summerland

IFC Films

Directed by Jessica Swale

Starring Gemma Arterton, Lucas Bond, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Courtenay and Penelope Wilton

Not Rated

3 Stars

BREAKING NEWS

4 p.m. Saturday update: Beta is stationary, slow west drift expected

Groves

Groves auto burglaries lead to stolen gun, wallet & medication

Local

Library welcomes limited patrons, hours as Nederland launches phased reopening

Local

Replacement or Demolition? City Council discusses fate of Tugboat Island

Beaumont

Ford Park could again be up for bids, now with proper $43.2M property valuation

Local

Locals share stories of newest SNL funnyman & PNG alum Andrew Dismukes

Local

Port Neches amends budget for Hurricane Laura, other expenses

Groves

Groves sets tax rate, approves slight water & sewer rate hike

Local

PHOTO: Port Arthur Newsmedia member joins Nederland Rotary

Columns

STEPHEN HEMELT — Nederland’s elected leaders go against staff recommendation, open some facilities

Local

Tropical storm warning for Jefferson County, weather officials talk local impact

Local

PAISD student tests for COVID-19, quarantine procedure put in place

Local

Tropical Storm Beta now threatens Port Arthur, Texas coast

High School Sports

QB Rene Cunningham, Nederland teammates adjust to new roles in scrimmage win over Memorial

Beaumont

Sheriff’s Office, DEA raid area vape shop where customers reported “extreme intoxication”

Local

Medical Center of Southeast Texas easing visitor & elective procedure guidelines

Local

Public hearing set for proposed U.S. 69 & Highway 73 interchange improvement in Port Arthur

Local

Indictment: Victim slaps gun from face before it fires

Local

Jefferson County grand jury delivers indictments for meth, cocaine & more

News Main

Bruins turn back Indians in scrimmage, 28-10

High School Sports

Cunningham throws two TDs, leads Bulldogs to scrimmage win over Titans

Local

Weather officials explain why nearest tropical system could cause weeklong impact

Local

Tropical Storm expected Friday, some Port Arthur impact comes into forecast

Local

Memorial High cosmetology receives large donation of shampoo, shining serum & hairspray