Summer (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/12/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 95 mins

Sharply written with an award-winning performance from Robert Carlyle, this is an engaging drama that packs a powerful emotional punch.

What's it all about?
Robert Carlyle stars as Shaun, who spends his days looking after his wheelchair-bound best friend Daz (Steve Evets). When Daz is given just a few weeks to live, Shaun thinks back to the summer when everything began to go wrong: labelled a bully at school, his learning disability was ignored and he was expelled, eventually destroying his future through an act of destruction.

At the same time, Shaun recalls that exact same summer as the best time of his life, when he and Daz (Sean Kelly and Jo Doherty) spent a blissful time hanging around with Shaun's girlfriend Katy (Joanna Tulej), who Shaun still thinks of as the love of his life. And when Daz goes into hospital and his teenage son Daniel (Michael Socha) goes off the rails, Shaun decides to see if he can reconnect with Katy (now played by Rachael Blake).

The Good
Directed by Kenneth Glenaan, this is a powerfully emotional drama with Carlyle on top form and a potentially career-making performance from young Sean Kelly as the teenaged Shaun. There's also strong support from newcomer Joanna Tulej, whose character is refreshingly different from the usual cliches associated with the flashback dreamgirl role.

As well as getting terrific performances from his actors, Glenaan brilliantly captures the feel of carefree summers in small towns and orchestrates some astonishing sequences, such as a shocking and heartbreaking scene in which Shaun deliberately crushes his hand in a vice.

The Great
Glenaan exerts a firm grip on the material, exploring powerful themes and delivering a subtle but effective message about the way that people with learning disabilities so often fall through the cracks. That the film also offers a glimmer of hope without resorting to sentimentality is a testament to the strength of both the script and the performances.

Worth seeing?
Powerful, beautifully shot and emotionally devastating, Summer marks Glenaan out as a talent to watch. Highly recommended.

Summer has been reviewed by 1 users
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