Summerland, from writer-director Jessica Swale, is a period drama that focuses on Alice (Gemma Arterton), a reclusive writer living on her own who spends her days researching, endlessly working away at her typewriter and stirring up trouble amongst the townspeople who gawk at her in disdain. When Frank (Lucas Bond), a young evacuee from London, shows up at her door, she is forced to take him into her home, which ultimately leads them on a journey of love, friendship and discovery. 

The stunning cinematography allows the viewer to easily get lost within the film, feeling as though we’re there with Alice and Frank atop a hill with the sun shining down. Arterton presents us with Alice as a character with nuance; a woman who has built up walls around her heart because of her past. Arterton’s acting is matched by Bond’s, whose ability to bring such lightheartedness and emotional maturity to Frank’s character is impressive, and allows for a very believable friendship onscreen. 

This is quite a moving film, not only because of the bond between Alice and Frank, but also because of the romance that was shared between Alice and her past love, Vera (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), that the viewer gets to relive through flashbacks. There is a very poignant scene with Arterton and Bond where Alice admits she loved another woman, and Frank meets this with acceptance and kindness; the film shows the contrasting ignorance of the time, and through Frank’s character, proves that this hatred is learned from a prejudiced society.

There is certainly something magical about Summerland. Set against a beautiful seaside backdrop with the threat of World War II looming in the distance, Summerland feels like a triumph against themes of loss and heartbreak, leaving the viewer with a real sense of hope.



CAST: Gemma Arterton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Penelope Wilton, Lucas Bond, Dixie Egerickx

DIRECTOR: Jessica Swale

WRITER: Jessica Swale

SYNOPSIS: Set during World War II, a reclusive writer named Alice opens her home to an evacuee from London.