15 October 2009 | cultfilmfan
Summer Hours is a French film in French with English subtitles. It focuses on a family who do not see each other very often due to work and several of the siblings living overseas, but they are reunited and have to deal with an estate and the many belongings of one of the family members. Going through the belongings and seeing their old summer house brings back memories and has an effect on each person individually and some show it more than others and we also see how the many prized pieces of art belonging to the deceased go through being evaluated and how the siblings are going to part with them, or keep them for sentimental value. A lot of these decisions and choices and a look at a once close family who is now reunited is discussed in this film. Summer Hours is not one of your fast moving action packed films, but instead focuses a lot on characters and their lives and how they interact with the ones around them. The performances are all very strong here as is the character development and the dialogue, so for me it was an absolute joy to watch realistic characters deal with real life situations and emotions. The artistic and cultural belongings in the film that is a large focus of the story is also an interesting touch to the story because it really shows some different sides of the characters and for anyone interested in antiques, or art of any kind it is fascinating to watch seeing the impact they have on the museums and the appraisers. While the film does deal with family issues, I do want to stress that it is not a really dysfunctional family that we are observing here and it is not a depressing film to watch. On the contrary it sometimes left me quite uplifted to see how things are passed on from generation to generation and how even the simplest of things can bring back the memories of the ones we love and the times that are very dear to us. The siblings do get along and they do care for each other, but they are all older now and some have families and a lot of them have high demanding jobs and live elsewhere, so they do not really have time for each other, not because they don't care, but because their lives have taken them elsewhere, which I think is a realistic and honest way of looking at families because after all doesn't situations like this happen to us all eventually? There is definitely a lot the film leaves us to think about and I think it also allows us to appreciate our own families and the things that make them special and what brings us together and what will give us everlasting memories. Summer Hours does this without being overly sentimental, or preachy, but it still leaves the viewer with a lot to think about and to cherish about what one just watched. It left me with a peaceful and tranquil feeling and I really enjoyed watching these characters and learning more about them. A moving and intriguing tale that is one of this year's best films.