‘Summerland’ review: A refreshing take on the cozy WWII-era English seaside village drama

If Alice subscribes to any belief, it’s that, “life is not kind; anguish is inevitable.” She has led her life anticipating anguish and heading it off by avoiding and cauterizing any emotional connection to another person, who might leave, or die. But Frank, with his wild curls, easy smile and curious nature, manages to crack Alice’s icy exterior. He’s loyal and sweet and he asks about her work, and soon Alice is sharing her research into the myth of Summerland, or pagan heaven. As she lets Frank in, memories start to flood her consciousness: a touch of a hand at the opera, a romantic weekend spent swimming and romping with her former lover, Vera (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). Alice’s desperate, angry sorrow suddenly all makes sense.

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