Director Pawel Pawlikowski takes an isolated West Yorkshire town, two restless teenage girls and a long, hot summer and fashions them into a bittersweet rite-of-passage story driven by the subtle performances of newcomers Nathalie Press and Emily Blunt. Fatherless and unmotivated redhead Mona (Press) has lived her whole life upstairs from her late mother's pub — the optimistically named Swan — which her brother Phil (Paddy Considine), a lifelong hell-raiser who found religion in jail, has just converted into a Christian meeting house. Mona is at loose ends; she has no job, no education to speak of and no love life — her loutish, married boyfriend Ricky (Dean Andrews) has just ended their affair with a particularly callous flourish. She's reduced to tooling around the winding lanes outside town on a moped with no motor, dragging it up hills for the fleeting pleasure of whizzing down. The chic, beautiful Tamsin (Blunt), a neglected upper-class handful with all the advantages and no idea what to make of them, literally rides into Mona's life on a white horse. Tamsin has just been expelled from boarding school for being a "bad influence," she tells the fascinated Mona. Her beloved sister Sadie died of anorexia; her parents are preoccupied — Mom is off "pretending to be an actress" and Dad is having an affair with his secretary — and she's all alone in her pseudo-sophisticated nihilism, rattling around the family's splendid, genteelly down-at-the-heels country manse. Tamsin drinks red wine from elegant balloon glasses, plays the cello — she's currently polishing her rendition of Saint-Saens' "The Swan" — reads Nietzsche and Sartre and listens to Edith Piaf. Though Mona and Tamsin come from opposite ends of the social spectrum, they're united by boredom and frustration at what's expected of them. Within days the girls are thick as thieves, playing dress-up, teasing out each other's most reckless impulses and cocooning themselves in an "us against the world" fantasy whose erotic undertones soon float to the surface. That it all ends badly is a given, but Pawlikowski, whose LAST RESORT (2000) unfolds in the same kind of isolated, trapped-in-amber milieu, brilliantly evokes the sleepy, slightly unreal atmosphere of teenage summers that seem to stretch endlessly into the future.
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- Released: 2005
- Rating: R
- Review: Director Pawel Pawlikowski takes an isolated West Yorkshire town, two restless teenage girls and a long, hot summer and fashions them into a bittersweet rite-of-passage story driven by the subtle performances of newcomers Nathalie Press and Emily Blunt. Fa… (more)