Joseph Cross’ directorial debut Summer Night offers us a glimpse of young adults as they navigate life, love and friendships. All of the characters are at a crossroads in their lives and their situations vary by degree. News of a surprise pregnancy, a mugging, a first date, a love triangle, a break-up and other events lead up to the big music show where all the characters convene. They’re all connected to each other in some way. The film offers a slice of life view into their world and while there are multiple characters, each with their own distinct story line, the viewer won’t feel overwhelmed. We don’t need to get to know them any better than we do nor does the story pretend to offer more than it does. This is just one night filled with booze, pot, music and plenty of romance.
Summer Night offers a lighthearted drama with comedic moments and is a great vehicle for its up-and-coming young talent. The most notable of the bunch is singer/actress Victoria Justice who plays Harmony, a punk beauty who goes on a date with Jameson (Ellar Coltrane) only to find out he still harbors feelings for Corin (Elena Kampouris). She’s not in the film all too much but her scenes are a high point. I always was impressed with Ella Hunt and Callan McAuliffe who play Dana and Taylor respectively. These two have a sweet and tender romance that is really the heart of the film.
This is a personal pet peeve of mine but I hate that the women are all dressed up and presentable and the guys look like they’re overdue for a shower and in desperate need of some clean clothes. A partricularly egregious example of this is the character Jameson. He has greasy, unkempt hair and dresses in the shabbiest of outfits to go on a first date. How is that supposed to make a good impression? I didn’t see why Harmony and Corin were even remotely attracted to him. This just perpetuates the stereotype that it’s okay for guys to look however they want but women have to always look their best.
Summer Night is directed by Joseph Cross and written by Jordan Jolliff. It’s distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films and is available to watch on VOD.