Film / My Summer of Love

2004 British film directed by Pawel Pawlikowski and co-written by Pawel Pawlikowski and Michael Wynne. It is based on the novel of the same name by Helen Cross.

Working class orphan Mona (Natalie Press), whose once-hotheaded brother Phil (Paddy Considine) became a born again Christian in prison, meets upper class Tamsin (Emily Blunt), who suffers from a lack of love in her family. The two young girls quickly form a bond despite their different social backgrounds, and said bond goes way beyond friendship.

Filmed in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, the film went on to win a BAFTA.


  • Adaptational Attractiveness: While the Mona and Tamsin of the book were never considered unattractive (Tamsin was still considered pretty even as Mona (as the narrator) wasn't shy in noting some noticeable physical flaws), overall they came across as looking like your more average, everyday teenagers. When in a movie they're played by Natalie Press and Emily Blunt, naturally they came across as a lot more glamorous than their book counterparts.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Mona is portrayed in a much more sympathetic and victimized light in the movie, where in the book she nearly reaches Tamsin's level of cruelity and is equally involved with her Brother's death, who's role is almost completely changed in the movie.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: In the book any possible attraction between the two beyond just-friends affection is only distantly implied, if present at all. The movie, however, unambiguously plays their relationship out as a romantic affair and are clearly engaging in a sexual relationship.
  • Awful Truth: Tamsin doesn't love Mona, she just used her to have summer fun.
  • Brainy Brunette: Tamsin. Clearly she's musically and academically talented, and turns out to be quite the manipulator.
  • Bury Your Gays: Subverted. Mona starts to drown Tamsin but pulls her up at the last second, possibly making it more of a symbolically cathartic moment than a literal attempt at this trope.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Both Mona and Tamsin have one.
  • Faith–Heel Turn: Phil does a brutal one at the end and expels the believers from his house.
  • Faking the Dead: Mona fakes a suicide by hanging.
  • Fiery Redhead: Mona, although partially averted cuz while it may be more fitting to her internal self, she's more deadpan in real-life.
  • Fille Fatale: Tamsin. She does seem to bring out the darkest, most fatalistic sides of Mona and Phil at the end.
  • First Kiss: For Tamsin and Mona, at least their first kiss with another woman.
  • The Fundamentalist: Phil. He became a born-again Christian once he got out of jail, and reacts as you might expect when he finds out about the true nature of Mona and Tamsin's bond.
  • Hiding Behind Religion: Phil. While his newfound born-again christianity may be genuine, it becomes clearer he's using it at least partly to mask his darker and more abusive instincts, which come out during his interference with Tamsin and Mona's relationship.
  • I Lied: Tamsin, about her sister.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Tamsin. Clearly neglected by her parents and without any close friends in town, it's no surprise she hits it off with the also very lonely and neglected Mona, despite their considerable difference in class and personality.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Tamsin, although that's subject to Alternative Character Interpretation. Definitely with Mona at the end.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Tamsin. Both to Phil and more tragically, Mona.
  • Missing Mom: Mona's mother died of a cancer.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Tamsin. She tries to impress Mona with a quote of his right away.
  • Parental Neglect: Tamsin's parents, and Phil towards Mona.
  • Preacher Man: Phil. Holds gatherings in the old pub and rallies out in the countryside, although Tamsin and more subtly Mona suspects he's really just a fraud.
  • Promotion to Parent: Phil. Though Mona doesn't seem him in a "fatherly" light at all.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Tamsin. Also Mona at the end, when she at the very least wanted Tamsin to think she was going to drown her.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: Tamsin and Mona. Ironically though the film takes place entirely during their summer break.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Mona and Tamsin, respectively. Although with Mona it's more in terms of personality as in appearance she's still somewhat girlish, and Tamsin has a much more austere, almost old-fashioned femininity than most modern examples of this trope.