Summer Things review

French actor/director Michel Blanc adapts British writer Joseph Connolly's novel, turning in an intelligent comedy of manners.

A group of friends are vacationing one summer. Among their number are bourgeoise housewife Elizabeth (Charlotte Rampling), her strapped-for-cash neighbours Vero and Jérôme (Karin Viard and Denis Podalydès) and her single-mother pal Julie (Clotilde Courau), who's hoping to enjoy a holiday romance. Other hotel guests include a jealous husband (Blanc), his exasperated wife (Carole Bouquet) and serial seducer Maxime (Vincent Elbaz).

Assuredly performed, Summer Things is a witty mix of mistaken identities, amorous adventures and subterfuge. Beneath the crisp one-liners lies a melancholic core, as female camaraderie is cherished, the desirability of marriage is questioned and middle-aged disappointment is acknowledged. As Elizabeth ponders, why do our lives not turn out like our dreams?

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