FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Summertime (2016)


I’m a Wayne Stellini and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is the Italian drama Summertime (L’estate addosso)…

Image courtesy of Venice Film Festival.

Wanting to discover himself and explore life outside of Rome, Marco (Brando Pacitto) travels to the United States, planning to stay with couple Matt (Taylor Frey) and Paul (Joseph Haro) in San Fransisco.

However, Marco’s carefree trip is hampered before it even begins when the conservative, homophobic Maria (Matilda Lutz) joins him unexpectedly. He barely knows and doesn’t really like her, but that all changes as Marco, Maria, Matt, and Paul develop a special connection over summer…

Gabriele Muccino‘s coming of age tale relies on a number of true and tested narrative frameworks, so much so that there are few surprises as Summertime‘s plot points unfold. This isn’t always a bad thing, mind you, since the film is an overall harmless exercise in the exploration of interpersonal relationships.

The success of Summertime rests on our four central characters, all of whom are holding back elements of their true selves to protect them from potential risks. Angel-faced Brando Pacitto is considerably likeable as Marco, narrating elements of his experiences with his new-found friends, and is contrasted by the solid Matilda Lutz whose character, nicknamed “the nun”, serves the purpose of frigid bitch-turned-sexpot quite nicely. As the seemingly perfect couple Matt and Paul, Taylor Frey and Joseph Haro are beautifully cast; their chemistry is remarkable and the backstory of their meeting might tick a lot of familiar boxes, but does so better than most have. Together, these four young actors give the otherwise underdeveloped script more appeal; they work their way through some pretty clunky and cringe-worthy dialogue (the scene in which Maria and Matt shout their suppressed frustrations to the ocean borders on embarrassing).

Unexceptional overall, and perhaps not really memorable, Summertime is nicely photographed and edited. The script is begging for more depth, having given us characters that are relatable and whose exploits we could easily follow over a TV series format.

Polished and aesthetically pleasing, this is still worth a look despite the flaws of its foundation. 3 / 5


Starring: Brando Pacitto, Matilda Lutz, Taylor Frey, Joseph Haro, Scott Bakula.

Director: Gabriele Muccino | Writers: Gabriele Muccino, Dale Nall | Producers: Marco Cohen, Fabrizio Donvito, Benedetto Habib | Music: Jovanotti | Cinematographer: Paolo Caimi | Editors: Valentina Brunetti, Alexandro Rodríguez

Available: Netflix

Let us know what you thought of this film in the comments!


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