THE SUMMER HOUSE (2009)

With backgrounds in fashion film and photography, the debut feature from Johan Von Reybekiel and Marcus Werner Hed is unsurprisingly beautiful to look at. However, this belies the weaknesses in a plot that fails to live up to the faultless stride of its presentation.

For what it’s worth, there are moments of palpable realism in Stina and Nick’s relationship (played adequately by Sara Blomqvist and Tom Stanley). The smooching and bickering of the opening sequences establishes an affection and tension that permeates the film. However moments of composure and painful beauty — a jilted young lover sprinting through a shapeless, mazy forest — are outweighed by heavy-handed metaphor e.g. love rival’s big boat = big boat shoes.

The Summer House asks interesting enough questions. What is love? What is infatuation? How do they reconcile with one another? But there are few meaningful answers offered. We see love in one form or another. We see infatuation (or at least graphic humping). But it feels as if there wasn’t quite enough complexity or development in these themes to match the quality of the film’s appearance.

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