James Ponsoldt co-wrote, directed, and produced Summering, a 2022 American drama film. Lia Barnett, Lake Bell, Sarah Cooper, Ashley Madekwe, Madalen Mills, Megan Mullaly, Eden Grace Redfield, and Sanai Victoria are among the cast members. Bleecker Street released it on August 12, 2022.
- Daisy is played by Lia Barnett.
- Dina is played by Madalen Mills.
- Mari is played by Eden Grace Redfield.
- Lola is played by Sanai Victoria.
- Stacie is played by Megan Mullally.
- Laura is played by Lake Bell.
- Joy is played by Ashley Madekwe.
- Karna is played by Sarah Cooper.
- Daisy’s father is played by Dale McKeel.
- Carol is played by Willow Corner-Bettwieser.
What is the plot?
SUMMERING follows Daisy (Lia Barnett), Dina (Madalen Mills), Lola (Sanai Victoria), and Mari (Eden Grace Redfield), four 11-year-old best friends, in the days leading up to the commencement of middle school.
The girls come to a deceased man’s body near a field that they frequent. Rather than notifying the authorities, as Mari recommends, Dina persuades the girls that they must solve the mystery of his death themselves so that their worried mothers are not implicated.
As they begin to research the possible causes of the man’s death, the girls are simultaneously dealing with their fears about starting middle school, their diverse family conditions and expectations, and their fear that their relationship may not be able to endure the upcoming changes.
Is Summering Good to watch?
The inconsistent tone and improbable plot twists weaken the impact of this indie tween friendship story. There’s a lot to like about the “tweens on a mission” concept, which has captivated viewers for decades.
It’s tempting to root for a bunch of preteens investigating a mystery, whether it’s in Stand By Me or Stranger Things, even when they constantly indulge in reckless, age-inappropriate behaviour.
However, while writer/director James Ponsoldt and co-writer Benjamin Percy effectively depict some of the experiences of being a preteen girl, the dialogue and character arcs of the girls are uneven.
The film also aims to be both lighthearted and tear-jerkingly genuine, as with Daisy’s past as a stressed-out single mom (Lake Bell) mourning her husband’s death/abandonment.
There are hints to substance abuse, as well as a very emotional (and contrived) scene involving a tearful Daisy and her mom. The females are joking or attempting to accomplish a goal together when there is an actual gunshot. It simply does not operate as the filmmakers intended.
Plus, with four girls, a dead body, four mothers, and a length of just under 90 minutes, there isn’t enough depth for each girl. Short exchanges reveal rather than demonstrate how different their personalities are. Dina, for example, is analytical and scientific, but Lola believes in spirituality and the afterlife.
Ponsoldt did an excellent job with the adaptations of The Spectacular Now and The End of the Tour, but Summering falls short of those expectations. However, the four child actors deserve special recognition for trying their best with the material. Summering, for all of its credentials, falls short of expectations. Hopefully, they’ll all be cast in more coming-of-age pictures in the future.
In August 2021, it was said that Bleecker Street and Stage 6 Films had bought the rights to show the movie in the United States and other countries, respectively. On January 22, 2022, the film was shown for the first time at the Sundance Film Festival. It was supposed to come out on July 15, 2022, but the date was moved to August 12, 2022, in accordance with Wikipedia.
Based on 61 reviews, the average rating for the movie on Rotten Tomatoes is 4.8/10, which means that 36% of people liked it. The website’s critics’ consensus says, “Summering is a harmless enough coming-of-age story, but there are much better and less saccharine stories in this crowded genre.”
The film got a good review from Pete Hammond of Deadline Hollywood, who wrote, “After the movie is over, there are things to talk about. And it doesn’t ever talk down to its intended audience. If anything, it’s the adults who need to connect with their inner child the most.” United Press International’s Fred Topel also liked the movie and said, “Summering is like a female Amblin movie.”
Guy Lodge of Variety didn’t like the movie and wrote, “Too much of Summering, however, takes place in an unsatisfying middle ground, neither rooted in real life nor in the restless, malleable imaginations of its heroines.”
Angie Han of The Hollywood Reporter also gave the movie a bad review. She wrote, “But alas, its potential for magic is dulled by uneven performances, unconvincing chemistry, and an uninspiring script.” Natalia Winkelman of IndieWire gave the movie a C- and said, “As is, Summering is too scattered and silly for us to really care.”