The film vibrantly charts the emotional and physical hot house effects that bloom one summer for two young women. Mona, behind a spiky exterior, hides an untapped intelligence and a yearning for something beyond the emptiness of her daily life. Tamsin is well-educated, spoiled, and cynical. As they are complete opposites, each is wary of the other´s differences when they first meet, but this coolness soon melts into a mutual fascination, amusement, and attraction. Adding further volatility is Mona´s older brother who has renounced his criminal past for religious fervor which he tries to impose upon his sister. Mona, however, is experiencing her own rapture. " We must never be rapted" Tamsin intones to Mona. But can Mona completely trust her?

Director's Statement

The film is inspired by the novel “My Summer of Love” by Helen Cross. lt had these two great characters who immediately engaged me — Mona and Tamsin. I especially loved Mona. She was just my sort of character — cynical, lyrical, funny, unpredictable, always at odds with the world and with herself.

One other important source was an encounter I had with born-again Christians in 1987, when I was shooting a documentary in Lancashire about an evangelist preacher who was actually trying to plant a cross on top of Pendle Hill – where, famously, some witches were hanged in the 17th Century – to claim it for Christianity. I've never forgotten him and it.

I mainly kept the characters of the two girls. The book was a much busier, more populated affair. I remember Mona had a proper family; a father, a stepmother, a sensible older sister, and an obese stepbrother. Their pub was very lively, very Northern, with a crowd of "characters." There was also a creepy paedophile lusting after Mona, there were two murders, and the whole place was in the grip of the Miners Strike – the year was 1984. Ah, and a murderous Ripper was on the prowl killing young girls and terrorizing the population. None of this survived into the film.

So the novel was much more sociologically specific. lt was also quite plotty. The world in our film is much more spare, almost a little abstract. I wanted to tell the story through images and create a more timeless and elemental landscape, one in which the sort of emotions I'm interested in could occur, where someone can look into another's eyes and get obsessed. What I really wanted to avoid on MY SUMMER OF LOVE was making one of these so-called `gritty realist' films, which supposedly reflect contemporary Britain or contemporary youth — neither of which interest me very much.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Paul Pawlikowski

Written by: Paul Pawlikowski, Michael Wynne

Produced by: Tanya Seghatchian, Christopher Collins

Cinematography: Ryszard Lenczewski

Editing: David Charap

Production Design: John Stevenson

Costume Design: Julian Day

Original Score: Alison Goldfrapp

Cast: Paddy Considine, Natalie Press, Emily Blunt, Natalie Press (Mona), Emily Blunt (Tamsin), Paddy Considine (Phil)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Film 2005
  • European Director 2005
  • European Actress 2005
  • European Cinematographer – Prix Carlo Di Palma 2005
  • Feature Film Selection 2005