A Summer Story is an emotionally gripping tale about romantic love. Set in England in 1902, it is based on a story by John Galsworthy, author of The Forsyth Saga. Director Piers Haggard offers a veritable smorgasbord of treats for the eyes in this lushly photographed film of summer in the countryside.
James Wilby plays Frank Ashton, a lawyer from London who takes temporary lodging at a farm after spraining his ankle. Although extremely intellectual and quite reserved, he nevertheless falls in love with Megan, the young maid who is set to marry the son of the farm owner. Imogen Stubbs, a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, turns in a luminous and astonishing performance as Megan. In a natural and yet extremely nuanced way, she conveys all the intimacies, exhilarations, secrecy, and daring involved in passionate love. Once Frank leaves the farm with a pledge to soon take his lover to London and marry her, this tale shifts into an autumnal mood.
A Summer Story offers a bittersweet anatomy of the mysteries of love and romantic desire. It is the best exploration of the subject since Eric Rohmer's Pauline at the Beach.