Summer Eleven

Movie review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Summer Eleven Movie Poster Image
Serious subjects handled delicately in best friends pic.
  • PG
  • 2011
  • 93 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 21 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Enjoying the time you have is a big lesson for the girls who are worried about middle school in the fall, as is sticking together come what may when school starts. Friendship helps the girls face upheaval in their families. There's an implied message, too, that there are quick and easy solutions to such big problems as homelessness, divorce, etc.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The girls are all good friends to one another. Adults try hard to be good parents, but are seen as caught up in their own struggles as well.


Mention of dead soldiers in Iraq on the car radio while a father whose son Jerry is stationed there looks worried. The sound of an explosion to indicate that something happened to Jerry -- he later comes home in a wheelchair. Jess' mom's boyfriend throws a remote control at the wall next to Jess.


One girl asks the others, "How do people get pregnant?" They cut away and come back to her saying, "My parents did that?!"


"Dammit" and "hell" shouted at the dinner table. Vanessa's mom says "I hate myself."


Three of the girls have DS players and play a game together. A mention of America's Funniest Home Videos.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lizzie gets her older brother a beer at the dinner table and his parents tell him they think he's already had enough.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this film about four girls the summer before middle school made the Heartland and Family Film Festival circuits before making it to DVD and as such is focused on being uplifting family fare. So while it tackles mature themes such as divorce, homelessness, and an older brother coming home from Iraq in a wheelchair, it does so rather mildly and offers some pat answers to these difficult problems. There's mild swearing in one scene where there's also beer drinking by adults. Also, one of the girls asks how people get pregnant, the camera cuts away assuming the other girls tell her, and then you see her say "My parents did that?!"

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMandaMaMA June 16, 2011

Great Movie for girls entering middle school

This is a great movie for girls entering middle school. It opens the door for discussions on how babies are created, drinking, and other issues adolescence fac... Continue reading
Parent of a 10-year-old Written byGwennyKay August 13, 2014

A quiet, thoughtful movie

My ten-year-old daughter and I watched this movie together and loved it. I don't see how people could say the acting was bad--they girls acted just like re... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 23, 2019
I don't really get why a bunch of you are saying it's not good. Or like weird in a bad way, or so bad it's "funny". I don't remem... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMoviegirl700 October 23, 2018

Awful and innapropriate

Honestly-this movie is awful. Don't watch this

What's the story?

It's the summer before middle school for four girls in an L.A. neighborhood and it's time to hang out, chase the ice cream truck, have sleepovers in the backyard, and talk out all 11-year-old worries and problems. Besides the fear of a new school in the fall, these 11-year-olds are facing bigger issues. Vanessa (Alice Ziolkoski) is trying to make it as a child actress and really wants to do a feature film, Jess (Sarah Butterworth) is coping with her parents' separation and her mom's boyfriend who seems to have taken over their home, Lizzie (Meaghan Hughes) has her brother return home from Iraq changed both physically and mentally, and Peri (Sydney Fox) is living out of the family car with her mother and brother right under the noses of their former neighbors.

Is it any good?

There are so few movies about girls this age being regular 11-year-olds it makes this one seem refreshing somehow, despite its faults. The girls are all earnest, thoughtful, and sweet and feel very real. Their struggles are real, too, with a brother home from Iraq, impending divorce, and the sad result of a foreclosed home.

Thankfully none of these issues drives the movie to melodrama -- instead it errs on the side of movie-of-the-week patness. Living out of your car? Move into our guest house while you get back on your feet. Hmmm. And while the pace is leisurely like a kid's summer before homework and sports practice, it really drags in places, making the 93-minute running time feel much longer.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about movies featuring 11-year-old girls. Can you think of many? Why do you think there are so few?

  • For girls around this age, could you relate to the other girls? Do you like that they seem like normal kids, or do you prefer girls who sing and dance on the Disney Channel?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love girl-powered movies

Themes & Topics

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