Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Summer at Charlotte's: Movie Review

Very predictable, laid-back romance.

Summer at Charlotte’s is literally big city girl goes to her small hometown and rediscovers what she wants in life while falling back in love with her childhood sweetheart. As every good romance cinephile knows, that is the plot description of most Hallmark movies. The main problem with Summer at Charlotte’s is the genericness of it. So few specifics are given to the character or her life that the movie has no identity.   2023

Directed by: Avi Federgreen

Screenplay by: Kaisha Bicknell, Style Dayne

Starring: Lucy Hill, Patch May

Summer (Lucy Hill) works a demanding job in Chicago. What job? We don’t know, she just has deadlines and a boss that says things like “you have to get this done tonight,” what she does apparently doesn’t matter. Giving her an actual job would really help flesh out the character and give her some dimension. Lead actress Lucy Hill does her best navigating a meaningless and directionless character, but the film and the two leads have a hard time connecting the audience to them.

Summer also has a pretty crappy fiancée. He’s a hot-shot lawyer up for partner who has to go to London for business and tells Summer that she can plan the whole wedding herself, he doesn’t care. It’s not just the audience who is alerted to how inconsiderate of a human being he is, based on Charlotte’s response, she has talked to him before about how he doesn’t listen to her which says to her that she doesn’t care about him.

Obviously, any man that Summer finds in the -- unnamed, generic smalltown that is not identified by location and only that it is not the city – is a significant upgrade over her fiancee Aren. It’s unsurprisingly predictable, but it also seemed to take Summer too long to figure out that Aren is not good for her; especially since she apparently already knew that at the beginning of the movie, but then must have forgotten as she spends the rest of the movie re-learning that he’s an unsympathetic douchebag.

Summer spends the summer at her grandmother Charlotte’s house who lives next door to another grandmother named Betty, who happens to be Dev’s grandmother, who happens to be Summer’s old childhood flame, who also happens to be back in town. The meddling grannies will be sure to put a smile on your face even though the roadmap to Summer’s happily-ever-after is very clearly drawn out and takes a while for the film to get there.

Summer at Charlotte’s is a nice, laid-back romantic drama. All of the drama is very predictable so it can feel very slow in getting to the inevitable conclusion. However, by the end there is a warmth and genuineness to Summer’s dilemma and the film doesn’t shy away from the impending break-up, which is handled surprisingly well. It’s ultimately an even-keeled movie that tells a generic story as realistically as possible.