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

Local

INDICTMENT: Port Arthur 18-year-old yells “I got me one” during deadly shooting

Local

ON THE MENU — Hamilton’s Restaurant and Bar is spot where gumbo hits the spot

Local

Man curses & punches nurse during urine sample procedure, police say

Local

Join Girl Scouts for free in December, courtesy of Sempra LNG

Beaumont

Jefferson County grand jury indictments

High School Sports

Titan talk centers on playoff preparation: Long-awaited unbeaten regular season at stake for 8-0 Memorial

Groves

PNG’s playoff path: Win, get help from Barbers Hill

Local

PHOTOS — Old School: Lincoln High School drum major shows struts in uniform

BREAKING NEWS

Health officials announce COVID deaths of 2 Mid-County residents on Thursday

Local

Port Arthur EcoWerks donates thousands to help feed area residents in need

Columns

KAY DECUIR — Nederland’s Twelve Days of Christmas Basket Giveaway begins, golf cart parade nears

Local

Coast Guard: 27-year-old missing offshore from Sabine Pass after falling from tanker vessel

Local

Businessman, commissioner Waymon Hallmark remembered for longtime impact

Beaumont

Judge, assistant DA & JCSO Deputy Chief talk impacts of jury trials postponement until 2021

Local

Responding Nederland firefighters encounter visible residential fire & smoke

Groves

Groves Police Department arrests & responses: Nov. 25 – Dec. 1

Beaumont

CEO leaving Southeast Texas Food Bank, active search for new executive begins

Local

Abbott announces initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution for December

Local

Jefferson County not facing COVID business occupancy rollback just yet

Local

Police chase in Nederland leads to crash, 2 sent to hospital

Groves

Groves Police team with PNG students, volunteers to brighten Christmas for 50 families in need

Local

Dozens of stolen Port Arthur firearms are getting into criminals’ hands. You can help stop it.

Beaumont

Spindletop Center reopens newly renovated Hope Center

Local

PA Greater Minority Chamber asks shoppers to support Black-owned biz during holiday season