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Summer of 85(Été 85)

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

France
·
2020

1h 41m

Director François Ozon
Starring Félix Lefebvre, Benjamin Voisin, Philippine Velge, Valeria Bruni‑Tedeschi

Genre Drama, Romance

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While sailing, 16-year-old Alexis' boat capsizes during a storm, and he is rescued by 18-year-old David. Together, the pair form a tender friendship and romance blossoms in the warmth of the summer sun. But David soon reveals his darker side, asking Alexis to make a strange promise.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

80

TheWrap by Alonso Duralde

For as prolific a filmmaker as Ozon continues to be, his occasional misses are far outweighed by his offbeat and insightful forays, particularly in the realm of sexuality — the best parts and the crazy-making parts. For audiences equally interested in his insights about loss and about love, there’s plenty to ponder in Summer of ’85.
60

The Guardian by Benjamin Lee

Unlike the woozy love at its centre, Summer of 85 doesn’t haunt in the way that it should. It fades when it should burn.
80

The Hollywood Reporter by Boyd van Hoeij

Here, the story and the characters' supposed naiveté and the almost-too-obvious stylistic flourishes aren't just nods to his younger, less-refined m.o. They are actually part of a master storyteller's tools to seduce a grown-up audience into considering how youngsters not only experience their own lives but also how they process and talk about them.
75

IndieWire by David Ehrlich

Sunny, seductive, and strangely refreshing even when things get dark, Summer of 85 is the cinematic equivalent of someone going back to their childhood home and seeing it through the bleary eyes of an adult, clouded by memory but also liberated from the teenage myopia that once made every new emotion feel like a matter of life and death.
80

Empire by Ian Freer

A holiday romance perfect for the dark nights with the added bonus of a flashback structure that builds genuine intrigue into the outcome. It also includes a use of Rod Stewart’s ‘Sailing’ that guarantees its place on your 2020 movie playlist.
67

The Playlist by Jason Bailey

Summer of ’85 is ultimately not entirely successful, because its disparate tones don’t always mesh. But more than that, the carefree, romantic stuff is so enjoyable, and so sincere, that in retrospect, one wishes the entire film had lived there – both in that flush of first love (or at least lust), and in reckoning afterward with the complexities of that emotion.
80

Screen Daily by Lisa Nesselson

An intense and touching tale of first love set over a six-week period, Summer Of 85 blends the energy of youth with the curveballs of fate in a pleasant, keenly acted package that, despite a tragic core, will send all but the most strait-laced curmudgeon out of the cinema smiling.
75

Slashfilm by Marshall Shaffer

While the film does struggle a bit with some jumbled tonality, the latest work from the famously prolific French filmmaker strikes a new and surprisingly stirring combination of steamy and sweet thanks to the love story at its core.
60

Variety by Peter Debruge

The movie has dug a hole for itself with the disingenuous framing device, and the last act feels like a cheat, revealing Alex’s “crime” to be anything but. While the midsection of the film proves to be the most charming — a kind of extended montage in which the young men tentatively test the limits of their relationship — it’s the final stretch that situates Summer of 85 squarely within Ozon’s oeuvre.

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