During their last days of summer and childhood — the weekend before middle school begins — four girls struggle with the harsh truths of growing up and embark on a mysterious adventure.

Summering’, James Ponsoldt’s latest film, is a coming of age story about a group of young friends who discover a dead body in the final days of their summer holidays. No, this isn’t a remake of ‘Stand By Me’, although it may as well be given it seems to be the entire basis for this movie, with the exception of the central characters being female and not male. It clocks in at 1h20m which isn’t a surprise as this is the slightest of films with the thinnest of premises, one that had been explored to much greater effect in Rob Reiner’s 80s classic.

Summering’ appears to me at least to be an attempt to capture the spirit of the type of movies that were ten a penny in the 1980s, namely those movies aimed at kids that touched on adult themes, often with the Amblin logo and some supernatural or science fiction elements included. It didn’t really connect with me for a number of reasons, but primarily down to a plot that feels rehashed from better movies and some weak acting performances that don’t manage to draw you into the story. Ponsoldt adds a couple of supernatural elements later on which feel tacked on – either commit to it or leave it aside – which feels like an effort to liven things up for those of us who’d lost interest by this point. Spoiler – it didn’t work.

It perhaps feels harsh to criticise what is in effect a low stakes and harmless story of a few friends growing up together, but in such a crowded genre, a genre that has produced some absolute classics, ‘Summering’ feels very lazy and phoned in, and ultimately forgettable.

Rating: 2/5

Directed By: James Ponsoldt

Starring: Lia Barnett, Madalen Mills, Eden Grace Renfield, Sanai Victoria, Megan Mullally, Lake Bell, Ashley Madekwe and Sarah Cooper

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