In our next Shuswap Film Society movie, Summerland, we meet Alice Lamb, a scientist who researches mythical phenomena and lives alone in a picturesque cottage in county Kent, England.
Alice has shut herself off from the world, which makes her the subject of disapproving gossip in the village and the target of pranks by rowdy school children who claim she’s a witch. Alice does not like children and just wants to be left alone.
It comes as no surprise, then, that she’s not impressed when the British government assigns her a schoolboy named Frank for safekeeping, a lad displaced by the London air raids and his parents’ involvement in the Second World War. Since he’s on her doorstep, she agrees to take him but only until other arrangements can be made.
Frank, with his wild curls, easy smile and curious nature, soon begins to crack Alice’s icy exterior. The lonely, adorable child asks about her work and, as Alice shares her research into the myth of Summerland, or pagan heaven, they slowly bond. Frank even seems to guess what happened to her in the past – that she loved and lost someone special. As Alice’s heart gradually opens, her romantic past re-surfaces, taking her back to her time with Vera, the love of her life, who left her to have children, and suddenly her anger and sorrow make sense.
Summerland is a sweet film about the effect Alice’s role as Frank’s guardian has on her life and well-being. It’s a moving journey of love and compassion. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine called Summerland “the cinematic equivalent of comfort food.”
Summerland shows at 4 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13 at the Salmar Classic.