- Alternative Character Interpretation:
- Does Tamsin really love Mona? Was she just using her for whatever reason- for sexual experimentation, to pass away the boredom of the summer, or was she simply attracted to the idea of Mona, the fact that she seemed to resemble the tragic heroines of many of her favorite works of literature and brought some excitement and freshness to her gilded, boring life at home? Or was her romantic attraction to Mona geniune, just her own selfish penchant to embellish the relationship with (or, with some parts, base it on) make-believe and manipulate others around her ultimately causing the relationship's downfall?. She seemed geniunely stung after Mona's climatic actions at the pond, though it's debatable if that was based on her feelings toward her or just that she almost died. Is she just a casually cruel, manipulative teenager that's a product of affluent neglect, or a possible sociopath?
- Is Phil's devout Christianity a way for him to geniunely improve his life and of those around him, or is it just a way to try and suppress his darker instincts? Or both?
- There's been some dispute whether or not this is really an LGBT or Coming-Out Story or Mona & Tamsin's relationship was just based on the closed-in intimacy of mostly being in each other's exclusive company for much of the summer, or since the movie is largely shown from Mona's POV and the largely romanticized & sexualized portrayal of Tamsin along with the way she talks about men, even one she's been involved with, possibly alludes to Mona slowly discovering her homosexuality but largely through Tamsin's deceitful courtship.
- Awesome Music: "Lovely Head" by Goldfrapp, serving as leitmotif throughout the film. The singing part comes when the intimate bond between the two girls is at its peak, and it's simply beautiful.
- Best Known for the Fanservice:
"It involves girl on girl. Lots of girl on girl. Go see it!"
- Emily Blunt herself agrees. On The Graham Norton Show she talked about it...
- And in addition to the lesbian kissing, it's the only film Emily appears topless in.
- Broken Base: Mona trying to drown Tamsin after The Reveal. Some feel it's Mona going too far and sinking to Tamsin's level, as while Tamsin was awful, she merely told lies and outright murder is a bit of a jump from there. On the other hand, some feel it's wonderfully cathartic to see Tamsin finally brought down a peg, and as she doesn't drown it just serves to give her some comeuppance for her actions.
- Critical Dissonance: While the film was a big hit with critics in both the US and the UK (the latter where it won a major BAFTA award), it was largely ignored by audiences during its theatrical run on both sides of the Atlantic - though it has grown a bit of a cult following (especially among LGBTQ women) and also Retroactive Recognition thanks to Emily Blunt's later rise to Hollywood stardom.
- Fridge Brilliance: Tamsin is a lover of classic literature. The relationship between her and Mona does parallel the one between Laura and Carmilla in Carmilla. It's entirely possible Tamsin is a fan of the story and was deliberately acting as the Carmilla figure to Mona's Laura.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- Watch Sunshine Cleaning to see Emily Blunt in yet another pseudo-lesbian relationship.
- And then there's The Huntsman: Winter's War where Emily Blunt is again The Un-Favourite of two sisters one of whom turns out to be Not Quite Dead.
- The tension over Phil potentially discovering Mona and Tamsin during their first sex scene becomes hilarious when Emily Blunt talked about how the scene was to film. When she got to the window - completely naked - she discovered all the crew standing below to watch.
- Jerkass Woobie: While Tamsin does some rather horrible things in the film, especially to Mona, it becomes a bit more understandable when she was never really nurtured emotionally at home and clearly being (unintentionally) raised with an inferiority complex in regards to her "beautiful" older sister and her parent's aloofness towards her. Her callousness, while not forgivable, clearly is rooted somewhere close to home.
- LGBT Fanbase: Naturally, as it's a lesbian love story, it was quite a hit with the LGBT community.
- Retroactive Recognition:
- Emily Blunt is of course instantly more recognisable these days. She'd get her breakout role in The Devil Wears Prada only a year later.
- Dean Andrews, who plays Ricky, would be more recognisable for Life On Mars two years later - as well as Last Tango in Halifax and Emmerdale.
- Natalie Press did manage to receive critical acclaim later on for Fifty Dead Men Walking, Suffragette and the miniseries Five Daughters.
- Tear Jerker: As Mona is leaving Tamsin's house after realising most of her stories were lies, a woman appears and asks her to give back her top. Mona realises this is Sadie - the sister Tamsin said died of anorexia. It shows that even that was a lie.
- Tough Act to Follow: Critics of the film compared it to Heavenly Creatures, often unfavorably.
- Values Resonance: In the early 2000s acceptance of gays and lesbians in film hadn't quite caught on yet. So it's very impressive to see how well the lesbian love story is treated here. While there is kissing and nudity, it's not gratuitous. The relationship is shown as something happy that happens to Mona, and Tamsin's negative qualities don't stem from her lesbianism. She also seems to genuinely care for Mona. Phil's dislike of the relationship seems less to be because it's a same-sex one - but because Tamsin is clearly disturbed. In fact, both characters being female is pretty incidental. Tamsin actually treats Mona better than any of her male partners.
- The Woobie: Mona. Hard not to feel sad when it turns out all your romantic flings were just based on the other one using you for their own selfish ends, not to mention her own poverty, being an orphan and living with an emotionally removed brother who puts all his attention towards his born-again christianity rather than her own well-being (even if he thinks he's genuinely helping her in doing so).
YMMV / My Summer of Love