A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie deals with the power of infatuation and first love -- both the positive and negative sides. It also teaches that reckless, hot-headed behavior has consequences.
Positive Role Models
Alexis is wide-eyed and innocent at the start of the movie, having lead a fairly sheltered life. In contrast, David is portrayed as more worldly and experienced, though shows controlling tendencies. Both are seen to act recklessly and selfishly on occasion, choosing pleasure first. Alexis' parents conform to traditional gender roles, with his father holding the power in the household and his mother staying home. David's mother is a little more liberal and runs the family business following the death of his father. A teacher at school is a supportive and encouraging presence.
Violence & Scariness
A fist fight involves a character being punched to the floor with some blood on their face. An object is thrown to break a mirror and items pushed off shelves in a rage. There is dangerous driving on a motorbike. The aftermath of a crash is seen without the body, though a dead body is later shown in a morgue. Mild peril at sea involves a capsized boat in a storm. Suicide references include a character contemplating ways to take their own life, with a montage where they hold a gun to their head, slit their throat, hold pills as though to overdose, as well as portraying suffocation and hanging. Death is mentioned regularly, including that of a main character and a parent.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There is full nudity from behind and scenes of shirtless kissing and caressing. Characters are seen in bed with the implication that sexual intercourse has taken place. An adult makes inappropriate comments sexualizing a teen's body as they undress for a bath.
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Occasional language includes "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "bastard," and "a--hole." Also homophobic language such as "f--got" and "pervert."
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Products & Purchases
Some branded products are seen at the breakfast table including Nutella. Some scenes take place inside a fishing shop.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol on occasion, including teens who are underage. There is an incident of intoxication involving a minor character. Prescription pills are held as though to overdose during a montage.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Summer of 85 (also known as Été 85) is a well-told French teen coming-of-age romance -- with English subtitles -- and has themes of death and suicide. When teenager Alexis (Félix Lefebvre) moves to a French seaside town he starts a relationship with David (Benjamin Voisin), but as told through a series of flashbacks, tragedy awaits. Death is mentioned frequently, with a dead body shown in a morgue. A montage also depicts a characters contemplating suicide through various methods including a gun to the head, pills, and hanging. There is mild peril and mild violence, including punching, a capsized boat, and the aftermath of a vehicle crash. Full nudity is seen from behind, characters kiss and caress shirtless and there is the implication of sexual intercourse. Occasional strong language includes "f--k" and "s--t," while homophobic terms such as "f--got" are also used. There is some smoking and drinking, including by underage characters, and an incidence of intoxication. The movie is a stylish romance with elements of crime drama woven into the structure, which deals with adult issues that may not be appropriate for younger viewers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Based on the British YA novel Dance on My Grave by Aidan Chambers, director François Ozon transports this coming-of age drama to a French seaside town in the 1980s. Summer of 85 has a strong sense of nostalgia with songs from the likes of The Cure and Rod Stewart only adding to the feeling of a time gone by. Even without the framing device, which quickly establishes David's death and some connection to Alexis, it is never really in question that the romance will end in tears. The angelic innocent falling for the bad boy is nothing new.
But the chemistry between Lefebvre and Voisin is natural and intense in equal measure, as the pair hurtle toward the inevitable end with rose-tinted sunglasses and a devil-may-care smile. Sunny, dreamy location shots and intimate performances combine with flashes of humor and a hovering tension in what is a beautifully told, if slightly unoriginal, queer romance that should appeal as much to teens as older generations.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.