A writer gets an unexpected moppet in Summerland, the feature debut of writer/director Jessica Swale.

Alice was content to while away the time by herself. She had her cottage and her writing, both of which kept her comfortably distanced from the ravages of WWII. Then a boy showed up at her door, an evacuee from London that she’d been tasked with looking after until the war was over. At first, she begrudgingly did her duty, but soon the boy wheedled his way through her hard exterior and opened up her world.

source: IFC Films

This has the look of a gauzy, feel-good movie, one where serious things happen but they aren’t taken too seriously. It should be a manageable introduction to film for Swale, who transitions from stage to screen. She’s an award-winning playwright, in fact, so it’s little surprise that she also penned this feature.

Those lauded plays helped her land some great people in front of the camera, with two of the stars of Summerland, Gemma Arterton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, having starred in productions of her play Nell Gwynn. Both are undervalued performers who can really make a film, but a lot this will ride on if Swale can handle the medium change. Hopefully, she makes as big a splash in film as she did with plays.

Summerland is directed by Jessica Swale and stars Gemma Arterton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Lucas Bond. It will be released in the UK on July 24th, 2020, and in the US in theaters and on-demand on July 31st, 2020. Further release dates are not currently known.

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