(2004)4Brian J. DillardAny attempt to describe My Summer of Love -- as, say, "a class-conscious lesbian drama" or "the tale of two beautiful teenaged girls discovering themselves...and each other" -- threatens to reduce writer/director Pawel Pawlikowski's singular achievement to a dour stereotype or a titillating come-on. Make no mistake, this film matches its touching romance with acid wit and its careful social anthropology with gorgeously sun-dappled imagery. The result is a picture so perfectly balanced that it carries the joy, and the weight, of real life. The authentic performances earned international attention for stars Natalie Press, with her sly intelligence and wide-open face, and Emily Blunt, with her regal self-possession and flashes of vulnerability. As adolescent loners untied by a common contempt for what's expected of them, the actresses inhabit their carefully drawn characters completely. Factor in Ryszard Lenczewski's gorgeous cinematography, electro-pop duo Goldfrapp's evocative score, and Pawlikowski's discerning adaptation of Helen Cross' novel, and you have a pastoral romance that's both lyrical and unsentimental. Who knows why sapphic teens inspire so many filmmakers to such great heights, but My Summer of Love joins Heavenly Creatures and Show Me Love in the art-house canon.