Summerland (2020) Movie Review


Director: Jessica Swale

Writer: Jessica Swale (Screenplay)

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Penelope Wilton, Tom Courtenay, Lucas Bond, Dixie Egerickx

Plot: During World War II, an Englishwoman (Gemma Arterton) opens her heart to an evacuee after initially resolving to be rid of him in this moving journey of womanhood, love and friendship.

Tagline – Love. Magic. Hope.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Summerland starts when a bitter at the world author Alice (Arterton) learns she is meant to be taking in an evacuee Frank (Bond) during World War II, something she isn’t prepared for, or willing to do, reluctantly accepting a week until they can find him a new home.

When Alice gets to know Frank, she starts looking back on her past love Vera (Mbatha-Raw) which changes her mind, as she looks to help someone in need, while the rest of the village always frowns on Alice, Frank starts to see the good in her.

Thoughts on Summerland

Characters – Alice is the village spinster, well that is how the village sees the reclusive author, she has suffered her own heartbreak and when an evacuee turns up on her doorstep, she isn’t willing to help, until she starts to get to know the boy, she puts aside the differences that the village has against her to try and teach the boy about life. Frank is the evacuee that Alice takes in, he is from the middle of London and like most, he is scared of what is happening to himself and his parents, he starts to open up over time, learning that life might be filled with heartache, showing the highs and lows a child might go through. Vera is the ex-lover of Alice, she is the reason Alice is considered an outsider, with their relationship being looked down on, she did leave her, but is stuck in Alice’s memories everyday. We do meet the other locals, with Mr Sullivan the headmaster, Edie the school friend that Frank makes.

PerformancesGemma Arterton in the leading role is fantastic showing a serious side we don’t always get from her roles, with Gugu Mbathe-Raw being an excellent supporting cast member. Lucas Bond gives us a great child star performance too to complete the main cast.

StoryThe story here follows a reclusive author that gets sent an evacuee during World War II, one she doesn’t want and slowly over time starts to welcome into her home, all while being filled with the memories of what could have been, with he village believe she could be a problem in the war effort. The story here does show us just how difficult the wartime was on people who were either taking in evacuees or being the evacuee taken away from their family. It shows that people will always shave their own struggles, people were still being frowned upon because of what people would expect. The story is filled with plenty of heart and heartbreak that will completely make you understand the struggles the characters are going through.

Romance/WarThe romance side of the film does show us something that could once have been, while the war side of the film, looks at the people would be left behind, needing to spend more time hoping they could be reunited once the war is over.

SettingsThe film uses the beauty of the Kent countryside to help us see the escape Frank could have from the horrors of the war in the big city.

Scene of the Movie – Chase to London

That Moment That Annoyed Me – How the village reacts to Alice.

Final Thoughts Summerland is a beautifully shot movie that will bring to life the struggles of war for the helpless, the children who were left with strangers who had to give them hope of a future, a film where Gemma Arterton shines in.



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