“‘Summerland’ Is Far from a Vacation”

Gemma Arterton shows up in her share of period movies, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw does, too, so here they are in Summerland, if only intermittently and on slightly underserved terms; it’s the cinematic crossover event of the season.

Sort of. I don’t love how neatly Summerland knots itself off, but I admire and even adore everything else about it, in particular Arterton’s accomplished, self-possessed lead performance as an anti-social curmudgeonly genius. It’s a role men play all the time and have their asses kissed for, and which women either don’t play or don’t receive praise for playing*. Arterton brings all of herself to the film, though, and that everything really does wonders for the story. It helps that Jessica Swale directs the hell out of it.

You can read my full review over at Paste Magazine.

*In some cases, they don’t deserve praise. See: Rosamund Pike’s work in Marjan Satrapi’s Radioactive, which feels like an Eddie Redmayne performance except twice as disappointing, because Pike has more talent in her pinkies than Redmayne has in his whole body.

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