Summer Eleven Movie Poster Image

Summer Eleven

(i)

 

Serious subjects handled delicately in best friends pic.
  • Review Date: April 28, 2011
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

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

Language

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

Consumerism

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.

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?!"

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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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

DVD release date:April 26, 2011
Cast:Alice Ziolkoski, Meaghan Hughes, Sarah Butterworth, Sydney Fox
Director:Joseph Kell
Studio:Image Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Friendship
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:mild thematic elements and brief language

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byMomTime February 23, 2013

Somber Movie, Not too Much Entertaining Here.

The word for this movie is somber. It is a serious, somber movie about a lot of sad issues! Watched with my 11 year old and neither of us enjoyed it. It's okay to tackle divorce, homelessness, injured war veterans....but does it have to be ALL IN ONE MOVIE?? Not lighthearted, too heavy for kids despite no overt objectionable content. I would take a "pass".
Kid, 10 years old September 11, 2011

Don't even bother.

It was a huge let down. I thought it would be a nice movie about 4 girls having a summer mission and having a great time. Totally visa verso. What about the girl who goes out at night and always sees those old people dancing and the woman has a gas tank. Then the woman is shown gone. So stupid it was funny!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much consumerism
Adult Written bykaetra August 30, 2011

Really awful acting and script.

Content is tame, and the story lines are somewhat interesting. However, the acting and script are really horrible. I haven't seen a more poorly scripted/acted movie in a very long time. There aren't many movies for the tween group, true, but this one is completely pointless and skippable unless you want to demonstrate what bad acting looks like.

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