Summertime review – potent romance

The story of a love affair between two women in 1970s France is full of powerful moments and dramatic choices

There’s a lovely moment, right at the beginning of this romantic drama, where farmer’s daughter Delphine (Izïa Higelin) climbs off her tractor, grabs a handful of hay and appreciatively buries her nose in it. Later, she talks excitedly of the feel of the soil in the south of France compared to the waterlogged Limousin, where she was raised. It’s little character details like these that sharpen the edges of this 1970s-set love story between Delphine and Parisian teacher and feminist campaigner Carole (Cécile de France). And it’s Delphine’s deep connection with the countryside that eventually forces her to make an impossible choice, between her love and the land.

Although it lacks the in-your-face intimacy of Blue Is the Warmest Colour, there is a sensuality here that is no less persuasive. Carole and Delphine luxuriate in each other’s company. It’s a symbiotic relationship, which combines a sexual awakening for Carole and a political awakening for Delphine. Although the brisk narrative is less sprawling and unpredictable, the film shares something of the piercing sense of time and place of Olivier Assayas’s Something in the Air. Both films capture those precarious moments in which the balance of a life can change for ever on the strength of one fateful choice. The film’s main failing is the highly conventional and melodramatic score, which seems discordant with the rebellious spirits of the characters.

Watch the trailer for Summertime.

Contributor

Wendy Ide

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Playlist review – appealingly gauche French twentysomething romance
A young woman dreams of working as an artist – and finding a man – in Nine Antico’s feature debut

Wendy Ide

24, Oct, 2021 @11:00 AM

Article image
Undine review – romance with just enough magic and mystery
A woman on the rebound gets into deep water in Transit director Christian Petzold’s playful reworking of an age-old myth

Simran Hans

04, Apr, 2021 @10:00 AM

Article image
Theo & Hugo review – from frenzied rutting to romance
Two men connect after having unprotected sex in a film with an unexpected charm

Wendy Ide

11, Sep, 2016 @7:00 AM

Article image
Long Day’s Journey Into Night review – some kind of sorcery at work
This staggeringly ambitious love story will dazzle and baffle long after the credits have rolled

Wendy Ide

28, Dec, 2019 @3:00 PM

Article image
The Road to Mandalay review – potent migrant drama
This story of a young Burmese couple fleeing to Thailand is full of touching details

Wendy Ide

01, Oct, 2017 @7:00 AM

Article image
Call Me By Your Name review – a peach of a romance
Timothée Chalamet is superb in a sensuous gay love story set in the Lombardy sun

Wendy Ide

29, Oct, 2017 @8:00 AM

Article image
Ash Is Purest White review – epic outlaw romance in a changing China
A resilient gangster’s moll burns with misguided love in Jia Zhangke’s melancholy drama

Simran Hans

28, Apr, 2019 @6:59 AM

Paradise: Faith – review

The second in Ulrich Seidl's trilogy about women seeking self-fulfilment is kinky and grimly humorous, writes Catherine Shoard

Catherine Shoard

06, Jul, 2013 @11:06 PM

Article image
Mademoiselle Chambon – review

Philip French enjoys the touching tale of a married artisan who falls for his infant son's teacher

Philip French

24, Sep, 2011 @11:05 PM

Article image
Heartbeats – review

Philip French enjoys a wispy French-Canadian comedy about the mysteries of love

Philip French

28, May, 2011 @11:05 PM