Director: François Ozon
Starring: Félix Lefebvre, Benjamin Voisin
François Ozon’s latest film, Summer of 85 shows audiences just how formative this sunny season can be for young people on the cusp of adulthood.
Based on the novel Dance on My Grave by Aidan Chambers, Ozon’s film follows student Alexis as he finishes the school year and begins his summer holidays.
Whilst out sailing one morning the boat he’s on capsizes, but luckily for him there’s another boat nearby which comes to his rescue, sailing this boat is a young man called David.
After the rescue the pair become close and begin to spend the summer together, but will it be all plain sailing or is there a storm on the horizon for these new friends?
Ozon’s directorial touch captures the essence of summer so well here.
The sun-drenched beaches and seasonal wardrobes so effortlessly create the sense of freedom that comes with summer holidays in your younger years.
Its aesthetic feels reminiscent of Luca Guadagnino’s summer romance Call Me by Your Name.
Days spent out on the water sailing, evenings at the cinema and hardly any time spent at home quickly becomes the dream summer for Alexis and now that he has found David he’s pretty sure he’s got his dream best friend too.
The film features a really touching story of young romantic love, teasing the imminent relationship between Alexis and David so perfectly.
It’s excellent at portraying the deep desire for another person as well as the sensation of falling in love, although it’s equally as impressive at showing the excruciating emotional pain that comes with heartbreak.
The performances from Félix Lefebvre as Alexis and Benjamin Voisin as David feel authentic and true.
Lefebvre beautifully captures the innocence of Alexis whilst Voisin brings David’s confidence and spontaneity to life so vividly.
The pair has a charming chemistry as well, embodying young, free love in a tender and fragile way but they also become electric in the moments of tension and anger that they share.
Ozon immerses his audience in the very same summer that Alexis and David are living, taking us right into the centre of their experience but also leaving some elements of their relationship to the imagination.
Tell Me More, Tell Me More
He begins his film in an intriguing way, with Alexis recalling the events of the summer, alluding to the fact that isn’t going to be a straightforward boy meets boy story.
The narrative develops nicely but it can be divided into two very distinct sections.
Both sections are as strong as each other but the shift in tone might be jarring for some viewers with the second section more likely to attract criticism.
However, this shift in tone is no negative thing and it offers a much more unique angle to the well-trodden stereotype of the summer romance.
Furthermore, it’s very impressive that Summer of 85 is able to do this within its 100-minute running time, with this ambitious story never feeling rushed or short-changed by time restraints.
After the last of the season’s days have faded it’s safe to say that Ozon’s youthful summer romance is another fine entry in his forever unique and exciting filmography, and one that will live fondly in the memory of his fans.
His two lead actors bring this tale of desire, seduction and love to live in such an engrossing fashion that will have audiences wrapped up in their romance almost as much as they are invested in each other.
With the untouchable nature of the summer season so expertly conveyed combined with the central relationship being explored with such care Summer of 85 could well be set to become a coming of age classic and much more than just a throwaway holiday romance.
What do you make of this review of Summer Of 85?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.