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Film / My Summer of Love

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My Summer of Love is a 2004 British romantic drama film directed by Paweł Pawlikowski and co-written by Pawlikowski and Michael Wynne, based on the novel of the same name by Helen Cross. The soundtrack was provided by Goldfrapp.

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, in her theatrical debut), 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 evolves way beyond friendship.

Filmed in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, the picture went on to win the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film at the BAFTAs in 2005.


  • Adapted Out: Mona had a sister called Lindy in the book. It's just her and Phil in the film.
  • 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 cruelty and is equally involved with her brother's death, whose 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 that is explicitly sexual too.
  • Awful Truth: Tamsin doesn't love Mona, she just used her to have summer fun.
  • Bait the Dog: Phil is presented as a reformed ex-con who believes in prayer and meditation. When he discovers the relationship, he locks Mona in her room, hits her when she fakes a suicide and throws all the believers out.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Present in one scene where Mona and Tamsin go to Ricky's wife. She is a blonde, with Tamsin as the brunette and Mona as the redhead.
  • 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.
  • Composite Character: Phil is an amalgamation of three different characters from the book: his name is the same as a regular at the pub in the book who is a photographer and flirts with Mona and after photographing and sleeping with Mona, she and Tamsin accuse him of murder and blackmail him for money, his role as her brother equates him to the character of Porkchop from the book (who was Mona's stepbrother), and the born-again Christianity trait comes from the husband of Mona's Adapted Out sister Lindy.
  • Corpsing: In-Universe, While Tamsin is lying to Ricky's wife about Mona having his abortion and being left clinically depressed, the ruse is broken by her frequent giggling. Something Mona joins in with too.
  • Death by Adaptation: Mona's dad was alive in the book.
  • Downer Ending: Phil relapses into his old violent ways, Mona leaves the pub and discovers that Tamsin is going back to school. And that she lied about her sister's death. Mona tries to drown Tamsin and then walks off ambiguously down the road, clearly unsure of what she'll do now.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Both Mona and Tamsin have one.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: After their first kiss, Mona's straight hair is worn curly.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Foreshadowing: Tamsin's act towards Phil is very convincing. We find out she's a great actress who's been feeding Mona a pack of lies.
  • 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.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Mona's first moment is waking up hungover in a field, and she drinks plenty more times throughout the film.
  • 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's stories were all lies. Her parents were never separated - just on a holiday. She was never suspended from school - she's just on a break. And Sadie's sister is alive and well, she did not die of anorexia.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Mona starts wearing her hair down as soon as she starts meeting Tamsin.
  • 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.
  • Lower-Class Lout: Mona doesn't have Tamsin's manners or education.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Tamsin. Both to Phil and more tragically, Mona.
  • Missing Mom: Mona's mother died of cancer.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Tamsin and Mona both get to wear bikinis but Tamsin is the more frequently bikini-clad of the two of them, as well as the one who appears topless and fully nude.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Tamsin. She tries to impress Mona with a quote of his right away.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Emily Blunt appears to be attempting a Yorkshire accent in her first scene, but abandons it for the rest of the film. Possibly Tamsin making fun of Mona. Averted with Paddy Considine, whose accent is flawless.
  • Oop North: The entire story is set and filmed in Yorkshire.
  • Our Nudity Is Different: American audiences may be surprised at Tamsin's casual public toplessness when she sunbathes with Mona. Even the very conservative Christian Phil isn't the least bit scandalized.
  • 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.
  • Punny Name: Mona's real name is Lisa. Her brother nicknamed her Mona for a pun.
  • Reformed Criminal: Phil did prison, and became Born Again there.
  • Romantic Ride Sharing: Once Mona's moped is fitted with an engine, she goes on a ride with Tamsin just as their relation veers lesbian.
  • Setting Update: The book takes place in the 80s, and the film in the 2000s.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: Mona is working class, lives in a pub and has a thick Yorkshire accent. Tamsin is upper class, plays the cello and quotes classic literature.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Two of the people making up Phil's composite, Phil the Flash and Porkchop, die in the book (Phil by a heavily implied suicide, Porkchop by being drowned by Mona and Tamsin) but Phil lives in the film.
  • 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.
  • Uptown Girl: Mona, who's working class (living in a bar with her ex-con brother), gets involved with Tamsin, who's family is very rich (having a nice mansion).