- 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.
- Best Known for the Fanservice: Emily Blunt herself agrees. On The Graham Norton Show she talked about it..."It involves girl on girl. Lots of girl on girl. Go see it!"
- 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 it's 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.
- Moral Event Horizon: A heated debate whether Mona's attempt to drown Tamsin or at least make her think she was going to do it crossed some serious boundaries, or whether is was a Moment of Awesome, especially because it ultimately subverted the more melodramatic ending many thought was coming.
- 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.
- 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