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SUMMERLAND (Amazon Prime)

2020, destined to be immortalized as the era of Covid-19; traumatic, terrorizing, a year of cauterization, of vulnerability, unlike anything visited upon mankind since 1918, when fifty million people worldwide perished as the influenza pandemic spread its toxic tentacles. Searching for an antibiotic, a tonic to relieve the frustrations, the monotony of confinement in a structured, known environment; television is the over-the-counter, prescribed, curative drug.

“Summerland” is a whimsical, enchanting deviant from the Covid crisis; director Jessica Swale’s masterpiece resonates with human frailty, painful poignancy, lives altered by the contemptibility of WWII; writer, outlier “Alice Lamb” (shatteringly profound performance by Gemma Arterton) is a curmudgeonly, cantankerous recluse living in pristine, peaceful Kent, far from the horrific cacophony of bombs, air raids and devastating distractions; her isolation, shattered by the presence of “Frank” (riveting Lucas Bond) sent from London for protection, by his parents; his insouciant charm infects Alice; she shares her passion for pagan mythology (Summerland is pagan heaven) and he questions its veracity; their discussions reveal Alice’s angst: death, lost love, gaiety replaced by heartache, “anguish is inevitable” and inevitably informs all lives.

“Summerland’s” enchantment lies in its honesty; torment tempered by the grandeur of the White Cliffs of Dover; a preordained connection evolves magically as the film progresses, ultimately, with acute grace, to its divine conclusion.



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