Summer of 85

Summer of 85 (⭐⭐⭐)

Director: François Ozon. Cast: Félix Lefebvre, Benjamin Voisin, Philippine Velge, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.

This French film about teenage love, heartbreaks, gay awakening and death is a bit of a mixed bag, despite echoes of one of my favourite films “the Talented Mr Ripley”.The broken structure of the film, with constant flashbacks, keeps a certain tension going and the audience always guessing and intrigued at least for the first half. However once the “death” happens (don’t worry, I’m not spoiling anything, we are told who’s going to die in the first minute of the film), she film becomes a lot more predictable and not only I began to see right through it and feel I was always miles ahead of it, but crucially I started to feel more and more detached to it. Director François Ozon handles the teen love material with great sensitivity (top marks to the young actor Félix Lefebvre), but he cannot avoid the contrivances and mechanics of the actual plot, which is at times not very believable. And by the time one gets to the ending (which you can easily guess, since not only it’s telegraphed right from the start but it’s also the title of the book itself “Dance On My Grave”) what should have been the most cathartic and powerful scene of the film, ends up feeling a little silly and rather underwhelming. For a film that’s all about young passionate love, “Summer of 85” often feels strangely muted, restrained. Having said that, I challenge you to watch this and not hum “Sailing” by Rod Steward for the rest of the evening.

It’s in cinemas right now and available to stream on the Curzon Website

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