Charming, poignant comedy-drama from a first-time director and screenwriter
- Days of the Bagnold Summer review by Christopher Chiu-Tabet
Days of the Bagnold Summer is a perfectly fine and funny film, and definitely doesn’t overstay its welcome at only 90 minutes. First-time director Simon Bird displays a quiet confidence behind the camera, with the cinematography by Simon Tindall largely eschewing close-ups in favor of wide shots. Monica Dolan is great as Sue, perfectly embodying that mild-mannered friend every British woman seems to have. The movie’s main challenge is ensuring her son Daniel remains sympathetic throughout, which is easier said than done, but as the film continues, you start to remember your own conflicts with your parents, and perhaps your own struggles making friends.
Full review here: http://www.multiversitycomics.com/reviews/bagnold-summer-movie/
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.
So-so 'little film' from Britain, full of teenage grumpiness.
- Days of the Bagnold Summer review by PV
This is apparently adapted from a graphic novel - I never read these so I have no idea if this was a best seller or not.
Anyway, this is what I call a 'little film' - a little British film. Not very cinematic, more suited to TV maybe, very domestic, gentle, domestic.
I enjoyed it as a quirky funny comedy - not one to guffaw at, but just to smile wryly. Some of the teenage lines are great, as are the mother's reaction. The actor playing the 15 year old, Earl Cave, is 18+ here, and arguably looks it. Ever so slightly stereotyped and the scenario with the kids' band and the teacher played by Rob Bryden do not ring true. More cartoon character drama - well it is from a graphic novel.
But hey, a gentle watch. I enjoyed it for what it was. 3 stars. Just.
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
At No Time in the Film Does Earl Cave say 'Do you know who my father is?'
- Days of the Bagnold Summer review by DS
Simon Bird brought to the attention of the British public from The Inbetweeners and Friday Night Dinner amongst others, makes his directorial debut with Days of Bagnold Summer a slight, understated tale based on a popular graphic novel adapted by Lisa Owens. To say this is a typical comedic kitchen-sink coming-of-age drama is in itself an understatement. If any budding film reviewers or aficionados want to see the difference between a ‘typical’ British coming of age film and a US film then watch Days of Bagnold Summer with your favourite US film on the same topic.
Not only does the film underline the difference between the two filmmaking styles but in a broader more pompous sweeping statement you could say it does so for the countries' attitudes to a degree.
Nowhere in this film does anything huge or life-changing happen to any character. There is no big romance or broken-hearted schmaltz and syrupy sentimentality. Thus, some people viewing the film will say it is boring and ‘nothing happens’ but for me, that is the whole point. Relationships evolve organically and not at pivotal moments no matter what we are told in fiction and here Bird does this without explanation or signposting. It just so happens that Daniel and his mother have a different relationship than they did at the start of the story. Admittedly it seems a bit rushed and neatly packaged but let us face it where in 90-minute film territory here.
The sense of isolation is presented in the film with Bird using the house location interiors well, the ever excellent ‘very sensible’ Monica Dolan or convincingly miserable Earl Cave in the background framed by a door or window and the other in the foreground. In the same house but apart in so many ways. For a first-time and young director this is a confident and clever approach. There are some lovely long rang shots showing the characters as small and incidental to wider and larger backdrops which is a well-used film trick but here against the magnificent sweeping vistas of Bromley and the south London suburbs it brings a wry smile. It has to be appreciated the director and cinematographer, Simon Tindall, are working with a limited available palette and they do an impressive job.
The acting is British realistic if that were a style. Nothing flashy and each character has their own traits and personality that, as in real life, are stuck to. It could be said that Dolan’s Susan is a bit too sensible but from personal experience I would say not, I can remember teenage girls who were as sensible as that when I was a young lad. Equally, Cave’s Daniel could be said to be over the top although we have all probably either been that morose and miserable or have known pretentious kids who were like that, they may not necessarily have been our friends but I can conjure up a few like that from my memory as I sit here. So not as writ large as it seems.
Bobbing in out of the action are a roster of well-known British comedic talent with the peerless Alice Lowe dropping in as Susan’s more upbeat sister and Rob Brydon as a sort of love-interest teacher (I will not spoil the plot on this) and a brief but not unforgettable small cameo from the quirky and always strangely funny Tim Key.
Days of Bagnold Summer may not be ‘kitchen-sink’ realistic in its portrayal of middle-class suburban life but neither is it eye-rollingly dramatic and silly. Simon Bird shows an admirable restraint with sentimentality and audience handholding, some pet lovers may be taken aback, and even if the story semi-resolves a bit too easily and without an epiphany for any character I would say this slight tale is worth 90 minutes of your time.
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.