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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Days of the Bagnold Summer is a gentle and understated British comedy about the relationship between a mother and her son and the challenges that can occur. The mother, Sue (Monica Dolan) and teenage son, Daniel (Earl Cave) are complete opposites -- she's a librarian and he's obsessed with heavy metal. They clash constantly, as Daniel spends his summer days lazing around the house as Sue works to put food on his plate. Sue is a very positive representation, as a single mother with a full-time job who never complains and is very patient with her son. Daniel is guilty of saying hurtful things to his mother, and in one scene, even refers to her as a "bitch." The language is infrequent, but can be strong, including use of the word "f--k." In one scene, Daniel drinks too much resulting in him throwing up with Sue holding back his hair, so the depiction isn't exactly a positive one. Some references to smoking pot, although no actual taking of drugs occurs.
What's the story?
DAYS OF THE BAGNOLD SUMMER focuses in on heavy metal loving teenager Daniel (Earl Cave) who had planned to spend the summer in Florida with his dad. But the trip is canceled, leaving Daniel at home with his well-intentioned librarian mother, Sue (Monica Dolan) with the pair constantly clashing throughout a monotonous suburban summer.
Is it any good?
This film thrives in its genial tone and marks an accomplished directorial debut from The Inbetweeners and Friday Night Dinner star Simon Bird. Based on a 2012 graphic novel of the same name, not an awful lot happens narratively, but there's a warmth and charm to this subtle comedy. Days of the Bagnold Summer is a movie that relies squarely on its central mother-and-son relationship, which is well-judged, with both characters wonderfully brought to life by the actors.
Dolan is sympathetic as the put-upon Sue, while Daniel, portrayed by Cave -- the son of Nick -- may appear to be a bad seed, but his nuanced turn ensures we remain on his side throughout. Although Daniel plays up to caricatures of a clichéd misunderstood teenager, the tenderness of the direction and understated nature of the story, makes for a pleasant watch that more than passes the time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the relationship between Daniel and Sue in Days of the Bagnold Summer. How does Daniel's behavior towards his mother change throughout the movie? Discuss your own relationships with your parents. How could they be improved?
The movie is based on a graphic novel. What do you think of movies that are based on books? Do you have a favorite?
- On DVD or streaming: June 8, 2020
- Cast: Earl Cave, Monica Dolan, Rob Brydon
- Director: Simon Bird
- Studio: Altitude Film Distribution
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Book Characters, Holidays, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character strengths: Communication, Compassion, Perseverance
- Run time: 86 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: June 9, 2020
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