VOD REVIEW: Summerland a surprisingly poignant tearjerker

IFC Films’ feature Summerland hit me like a freight train. In the glut of VOD releases caused by COVID-19, there are sometimes four films to view in a single week.

I begrudgingly went into Summerland trying to fulfill obligations to distributors, and finished with tears streaming down my face.

I wasn’t ready to be so emotionally invested in the tale of Englishwoman Alive, a thorny, crotchety WWII-era novelist who begrudgingly takes in an evacuee child. And yet, within minutes I was entranced.

This comedy-romance puts Gemma Arterton in the lead role, and to be frank, I didn’t know she had it in her. Since she became famous for taking the lead role in the underrated, campy Prince Of Persia adaptation from Disney, she’s starred in clunkers like Clash Of The Titans, Hansel & Gretel, and Runner Runner.

Once I saw Summerland, I took a look back at her filmography and noticed that her roles from Ryan Reynolds pitch-black comedy The Voices and Their Finest were both pretty wonderful.

Arterton is absolutely splendid here, in the defining role of her career so far. She’s joined by The Morning Show’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw in a wonderful supporting role. This is a lovely film with not a performance out of place.

Summerland is a surprising, emotional and earnest film in a time where movies like it are in short supply.

4/5 Stars

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