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Days of the Bagnold Summer

"charming... hilarious... delightful"

★★★★ - STUFF 

- Inbetweeners star's directing debut a sweet delight - 

Daniel Bagnold (Earl Cave) is looking forward to his summer escape.

For six weeks, the Metallica-loving British teen will be soaking up the sights and sounds of Florida. Not only will get a chance to meet his half-brother for the first time, but his estranged dad has even promised to let him drive his MG convertible.

Mother Sue’s (Monica Dolan) only concern is how his traditional wardrobe might fare over there. “You’ll bake in black,” she warns. “They’ve got airconditioning,” he retorts. 

But then comes a call neither of them wants. It’s Daniel’s father, asking him to delay his trip because it’s simply “bad timing”. That he’s disappointed is an understatement, that Sue is dismayed also isn’t overstating the situation, after all she had plans to finally clear out the loft. 

Based on Joff Winterheart’s 2012 graphic novel of the same name, Days of the Bagnold Summer is a charming mother-son tale filled with colourful characters, recognisable conversations and sometimes hilarious scenarios.

Much of the humour comes from the supporting cast, who include Tamsin Greig as Daniel’s best friend’s mom and Rob Brydon as his history teacher, who develops an interest in Sue, much to her boy’s horror. Also look out for Taskmaster alumni Tim Key in a scene-stealing turn presiding over the “worst fudge-making demonstration ever”.

In truth though, Summer’s success comes down to the chemistry between W1A’s Dolan and True History of the Kelly Gang’s Cave. Their sometimes strained conversations and low-key conflict help ground the story. 

Debutant director Simon Bird demonstrates the lessons he’s clearly learned in his years as an actor on sitcoms like The Inbetweeners and Friday Night Dinner, allowing his story room to breathe and finding the right balance between laugh-out-loud moments and scenes with real heart.

And despite one of the main character’s more metal leanings being reflected in some of the movie’s incidental tunes, it also boasts a stonking soundtrack from Scotland’s more gentle indie giants Belle and Sebastian, adding a sweet grace note to an already delightful dramedy. 

- James Croot, STUFF 

Days of the Bagnold Summer is now playing at Light House Cinema! 

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