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Summer '03 (2018) - Movie Review

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Summer '03 - Movie Review

3 stars

There’s a moment in a pool in Summer ’03 which I absolutely love.  It is a slow motion sequence of Jamie, our lead character, just floating in the pool.  She’s underwater watching as other people jump in.  It is as if she is suspended there, taking everything in, and not reacting to any of it.  It’s a great metaphor for the movie and, possibly, what she ought to be doing more of because, as she tells us, this is the summer where she, spinning completely out of control, messed up.

This is a comedic coming of age story about going to heaven.  Don’t worry, Summer ‘03 is also a movie about really getting lost in the world of Harry Potter and about learning how to give a proper blow job.  I mean, just look at the movie’s poster.  It’s all there.  While these things do happen in the course of a few days (including the dripping ice cream and going to heaven), Summer ’03 is actually about a young woman discovering her own voice as she gets to experience a bit of control. 

"It feels like an honest portrayal of life in suburbia before smartphones took over and ruined us all."

Written and directed by Becca Gleason and featuring a standout performance from Joey King (The Kissing Booth), Summer ’03 begins with a crisis that rocks an entire family to its core.  We need that one event to bring this dysfunctional lot together.  That’s right, Jamie’s summer is kicked off by her grandmother’s sudden hospitalization.  Of course, when your grandmother is played by the one and only June Squibb (Nebraska), well, some strange things are going to go down.  Grandma is about to drop some truth bombs.

Jamie’s grandmother does not go quietly into that good night.  Nope.  She uses her deathbed to level some hard truths at her family.  Why?  Because she’s a bitch.  And for no other apparent reason.  She tells her daughter’s young son that he is a homosexual and she wishes that she could send him somewhere so he can get fixed.  Wow.  She tells her son about his real father in Germany.  Yikes.  And, after she is through with some other secrets for her own daughter and daughter-in-law that she feels compelled to tell, she tells Jamie the secret of the universe…and it is all about the movie’s poster.

And then, with a smile on her face as her family breaks down, Grandma Dotty passes away.

You can imagine the tailspin that follows such a maneuver.  With her grandmother dead and her family spiraling into complete chaos, Jamie keeps the information shared with her close to her chest.  She’s not ready to tell them what was just told to her.  Besides, her father (Paul Scheer) is now on a mission to find his real dad and her mother (Andrea Savage), who really dislikes his now dead mother, has to manage the funeral services.  She’d rather roll her into the hole in the ground and walk away.  Times are tough for all of them.

And so Jamie finds herself trying to pave a way forward through the dysfunction and the madness.  Will it be through her friends?  Will it be through Luke (Jake Kilmer)?  He’s studying to be a priest.  Jamie’s studying on how to give good head.  There is a big difference in their paths.  Or is there?  With her grandmother’s presence hanging all over the next few days, Jamie has a lot to figure out and it might just take the entire summer to get it right.  Let the unspooling begin!

Summer '03 - Movie Review

Summer ’03 is memorable because its characters – as written and performed – are very, very real.  It feels like an honest portrayal of life in suburbia before smartphones took over and ruined us all.  It also comes together in a full circle, making it a true coming of age story in which we actually see growth in these characters.  You will certainly laugh at some of the situations and the exploits.  You may tear up, too.  Either way, this is a film that will make you feel … something genuine.  And in today’s world you have to hold onto whatever scrap of originality and compassion that you can.

Summer ‘03 is now in select cities.  It will be expanding across the country in the coming weeks. 

Summer '03 - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated
95 mins
: Becca Gleason
Becca Gleason
Joey King, Andrea Savage, Paul Scheer
: Comedy
Summer '03
Memorable Movie Quote: "One thing in this world you need to know is to learn how to give a good blow job."
Theatrical Distributor:
United Artists
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 28, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: A 16-year-old girl and her extended family are left reeling after her calculating grandmother unveils an array of secrets on her deathbed.

Summer '03 - Movie Review


Blu-ray Details:

No details available.

Summer '03 - Movie Review

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