Age of Summerhood (originally just Summerhood) is a 2008 Canadian independent comedy-drama film directed by Jacob Medjuck. It tells the story of 9-year-old "Fetus," following all his trials and triumphs in one summer at sleepaway camp. The film won several awards at independent film festivals, and was eventually given a wider distribution in 2013; it is now available on Netflix Instant.
The film has been praised for its sensitive, honest look at childhood and the social and emotional rites of passage that come in early adolescence. The precocious Fetus takes part in group pranks, gets in trouble with the camp's disgruntled assistant director, sometimes has spats with his savvier friends, ponders life, and admires his beautiful pen pal "Sundae," with mixed results. Few of the characters are ever referred to by their real names. The whole movie has a slow-paced, surreal, slightly magical atmosphere, and is much more polished than most people's ideas of independent film. John Cusack, as adult Fetus, provides retrospective narration.
This film provides examples of the following tropes:
- The '80s: Just listen to that soundtrack! Medjuck has stated that capturing the "spirit of '89" was why he so wanted to get John Cusack to narrate it.
- Adults Are Useless: Most of the time. These kids are often left alone unsupervised, particularly on "Seniors Day" when staff disappear altogether. The assistant director, despite his attempts to be scary, can't get much respect from anyone. On the other hand, Careless proves to be a valuable ally who guides his campers through some of their toughest moments.
- Age of Titles: The film's title.
- The Big Damn Kiss: A major plot point, and Fetus' biggest goal for the summer. At first, he screws up several times, but in the end, it happens and is played very straight dramatic music and all.
- Huge Girl, Tiny Guy: They're both clearly still growing, but Sundae has several inches on Fetus.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Almost every single character (minus Steve and Willie). This is summer camp, after all!
- Summer Campy: Obviously. Was filmed at Medjuck's real-life childhood camp in Nova Scotia.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Medjuck took a lot of it from his own camper diaries.