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days of the bagnold summer

★★★★

director: simon bird (debut)

starring: monica dolan, earl cave, rob brydon and tamsin greig

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

A teenager spends his summer listening to heavy metal music and trying to get along with his librarian mum.

The surprising factor of Days of the Bagnold Summer is that not only is it director Simon Bird’s first feature but rather that Simon Bird was part of The Inbetweeners, although hilarious it delved into more puerile, gutter humor in its exploration of the pains of adolescence. While Days of the Bagnold Summer is low on incident, it’s a charming, sweet exploration of a mother and son’s fractured relationship and the embarrassments of being a teenager. 

 

Days of the Bagnold Summer sweetly draws you into the wobbly relationship between well-intentioned single librarian Sue Bagnold and her black-clad teenage son Daniel, who'd rather listen to Metallica than his mother. Daniel was meant to spend the summer in Florida visiting his dad, but is now stuck with Mum following the trip's cancellation.

 

Days of the Bagnold Summer is an intimate exploration of a mother and son’s relationship, fractured by circumstance and by the fact that Daniel is a teenager, dealing with micro embarrassment after embarrassment and a disappointing relationship with his distant father. 

 

While Days of the Bagnold Summer doesn’t have any huge incident with which the narrative revolves around, it’s in the intricate character exploration that the gold is truly found. Director Simon Bird has spent a lot of his acting career exploring adolescence, albeit from a different angle in The Inbetweeners, but it's his insight and instinct that beautifully captures the awkwardness and challenges of youth as well as the heartache and search for identity that single, older mothers must face. 

 

Monica Dolan and Earl Cave are a perfect mother and son duo, wonderfully capturing the chemistry and awkwardness of such a relationship. They are aptly supported in their lead roles by the likes of Rob Uncle Bryn Brydon and Tamsin Greig. 

While Days of the Bagnold Summer is low on incident, it’s a charming, sweet exploration of a mother and son’s fractured relationship and the embarrassments of being a teenager.

★★★★