Summer House, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2

In England in the 1950s, a marriage is set to take place between Margaret (Lena Hardy) and her neighbor, Syl (David Threadfall). Simply a marriage of convenience, Margaret despairs of not being in love with Syl, a dull haughty bachelor. Even their mothers (Joan Plowright and Julie Walters) agree the wedding should never take place. Margaret, meanwhile, dreams of her stay in Egypt and of the handsome, passionate young Egyptian that she loves. Suddenly, flamboyant Aunt Lili (Jeanne Moreau) bursts onto the scene. Becoming Margaret's confidante, Lili vows that the wedding will not take place. Trying to talk Margaret out of getting married, all of the women, including Margaret, drink at every turn. The day of the wedding, as the guests arrive, Lili stages her most daring escapade. Unfortunately, the dull interaction between the characters, coupled with dreary cinematography, add up to rather mediocre viewing.

THE SUMMER HOUSE is marred by constant drinking and drunkenness punctuated by a few exclamatory profanities and crudities. This alcohol abuse is sometimes portrayed as an antidote to an otherwise dull and hopeless existence. In Margaret's dream sequences, couples are shown lying together, with sexual intercourse implied. In an unrelated key scene, an unmarried couple engage in graphic intercourse. Violence is limited to an off-screen murder and bloody corpse. Not a particularly devout Catholic, Margaret nonetheless expresses a desire to become a nun just to get away from it all. The church is also the source of some comical remarks. For example, Lili makes a humorous connection between a hardware store and confession, and a nun admits that she thinks of God and Satan as a married couple because they go everywhere together. In one touching scene, the betrothed couple's mothers acknowledge the sacrifice Lili makes for the happiness of Margaret. While the film is not rated, it would fall roughly between PG-13 and R, mainly for the graphic intercourse scene. The constant drinking seems contrived and certainly detracts greatly from any positive message of the movie.

Preview Reviewer: Alice Anderson
The Samuel Goldwyn Co., 10203 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90067-6403.

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (3) times; Mild 2; Moderate 1

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Few (4) times - exclamatory

Violence: Once - Moderate (off-screen murder, bloody corpse)

Sex: once graphic (near nudity); implied four times in dreams

Nudity: Near nudity - once

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few (references to animal intercourse, cross-dressing, sexual abuse of a child)

Drugs: Many times (drinking and drunkenness treated lightly; cigarette smoking)

Other: Irreverent remarks about religion and church

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Over 16

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