Remember your first romance? It probably took place during the summer. The new film Summer of ’85 beautifully tells the story of one young man who experiences his first romance – in the summer of 1985.
The opening song ‘In Between Days’ by The Cure sets the era for the film (yes, you know it if you were around then). Summer of 85 is set in a Normandy, France, seaside town where Alexis Robin (a memorable Félix Lefebvre) lives with his parents and is in the gap period between school and college.
Alexis enjoys being the near the water, so much so that one day he takes a small boat out to sea but gets caught in a storm. He is rescued by the all too dashing Benjamin Voisin (David Gorman). Benjamin makes sure Félix is fine and takes him to his home to take care of him, where his mom (a very good Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) undresses Félix for a hot bath and admires his manhood). This leads to a quick relationship where Alexis has his first real crush (and love) with Benjamin. But it’s all too fast and furious, and when Benjamin’s mom (who was recently widowed) asks Félix to work in their nautical shop full time, it’s might be too much too soon for the perfect pair. And when Brit Kate (Philippine Velge) enters the picture the boys’ relationship is put to the test. Will it pass or fail? And then an unseen tragedy, typical in French films, dramatically changes the tone of the film.
Directed and co-written by the masterFrançois Ozon – the creator of so many great and memorable films (recent films include By the Grace of God and L’Amant Double) scores another winner here with a superb choice of actors, location, and songs (’Sailing’ by Rod Steward and Bananarama’s ‘Cruel Summer’ tells the story in their titles). Though the film goes a bit off the charts by having Félix dress up as a young woman in one silly scene (reminiscent of The New Girlfriend), Summer of ’85 is a very memorable and charming film about young love. It’s a film that will take you back to your first summer love.
Summer of 85 is in cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.