It’s the early 70s and farm girl Delphine (Izia Higelin) has her heart broken when her girlfriend decides to do the done thing and get married. To escape this fate she moves from her father’s farm in the South of France to Paris. Here, she finds herself in the centre of the burgeoning woman’s lib scene led by Carole (Cécile de France), whom Delphine is immediately drawn to.
The group concern themselves with women’s rights: the right to abortion, equal employment opportunities and, with Delphine’s loud support, they break a gay friend out of an institution. Just as the love story is beginning, however, Delphine’s father falls ill and she returns to the countryside to take over his duties. Carole follows and soon realises that while in Paris Delphine was wild and free, at home she cannot afford to be so.
Though it’s fanciful in parts, Catherine Corsini’s Summertime is a golden-hued love story that is sweet, heart-warming and tragic in equal measure. The two leads have phenomenal chemistry, their passion is infectious and their love scenes are filmed artistically and tastefully. Separately too, their performances are captivating. Delphine’s quiet self-certainty of who she is and the underlying fear she has of sharing that with her rural family is palpable, while Carole’s initial struggles to balance her feelings for Delphine and her boyfriend Manuel are heartening.
The tonal shift between the excitement and energy of Paris and the slower-paced, pastoral farm scenes feels initially jarring. Not only is there a huge role reversal between the two leads but the pace changes completely, the politics too are almost completely dropped to focus on the more emotional side of things. This works in the films favour of course, making Paris and Delphine’s brief life there feel like an entirely different world, but the initial transition feels clumsy. Luckily, the strong performances and gorgeous look of the film are more than enough to make up for this.
Summertime is released nationwide on 15th July 2016.
Watch the trailer for Summertime here: