Summerland is set during World War II. Alice Lamb (Gemma Arterton) lives a reclusive life in Dover, England. She is researching a mythical place of the dead, called Summerland. Alice is ostracised by the villagers, who think she is a witch.
Alice's life is thrown into disarray when a child war evacuee, Frank (Lucas Bond), is brought from London to live with her. Frank goes to the local school and befriends another evacuee, Edie (Dixie Egerickx).
Gradually, Alice and Frank become friends and Alice reveals why she lives alone. The love of her life was a woman named Vera (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who ended their relationship to have a family of her own. Alice was left brokenhearted and embittered.
When Frank enters her life, Alice rediscovers joy and lots more.
Same-sex relationships; war; death of a parent; mythology and folklore
Summerland has some violence. For example:
- Children put rubbish in Alice's letterbox.
- Alice gets into verbal arguments with people.
- Children call Alice a witch and a Nazi.
- Local boys chase Frank and knock him over. He has blood on his knee. They tell Frank that Alice is a Nazi and that she'll kill him in his bed.
- Bombs are dropped on London.
Summerland has some sexual references. For example, there are flashbacks to Alice's affair with Vera, showing them at a party, dancing and holding hands.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Summerland shows some use of substances. For example, Alice smokes often, and there is drinking at parties and at home.
Nudity and sexual activity
Summerland has some nudity and sexual activity. For example, Alice and Vera are shown in bed together fully clothed. They kiss.
Summerland has some coarse language and name-calling, including ‘bugger off’, ‘oh, lord’, ‘stupid’, ‘witch’ and ‘liar’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Summerland portrays how people with differences are ostracised and feared for no reason. It is a very emotive movie and is intense at times. Due to the adult themes in the movie, it isn't suitable for children under 12 and parental guidance is recommended for children aged 12-13 years.
The main messages from this movie are that people who hold different views and opinions shouldn't be feared or excluded and that love is better than bitterness.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include tolerance, inclusion, patience and kindness.
This movie could also give the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of certain attitudes and behaviours.