Last Summer 2018
1h 37min | Drama | 7 June 2019 (UK)
During a long hot summer in the 1970s, four boys roam free through a neglected rural paradise, until a tragedy strikes that sets them against the adult world and changes their lives forever.
Rural Wales. The 70s. Four pre-teenage boys. Summer. And a reminder of the important place that relationships and families have in our everyday lives.
The four boys comprise two sets of brothers: Davy Davies (Noa Thomas) and his younger brother Iwan (Gruffydd Weston) and their friends Rhys and Robbie Morris (Rowan Jones and Christopher Benning). They hang out together, shooting an air rifle at fish in a local river and sneaking into an abandoned, ruined barn to admire an owl that’s taken up residence.
All is not well in the Morris family home, however, with mum on the verge of leaving dad to move in with a shepherd who lives nearby. The sound of a gunshot causes the four boys to investigate: what happened at the Morrises will change their lives forever.
Childhood is a time of life to be cherished and everyone has memories of growing up in a specific time and place: in this instance, Wales, before mobile phones, the internet and video recorders. It’s all too easy to idealise childhood though. People in the real world have problems – and if those people happen to be your parents, your childhood innocence may go straight out the window.
Soon, the two young Morrises find themselves the centre of attention of not only the local police but also the well-meaning lady from social services. Prowling the edge of the plot with a shotgun is a third Morris brother, the teenager Kevin (Steffan Cennydd) who has been romantically involved with the police officer.
The boys, their terrible discovery and their decision to camp out in the woods recall that other terrific rites of passage movie Stand By Me while the fascination with the owl echoes the working class lad and his kestrel in Kes.
Last Summer is very much its own film though, delving into the effects on children when family life goes wrong. It never becomes patronising or preachy, delivering instead a rattling good yarn to leave you pondering its moral dilemmas long after the end credits.
Director: Jon Jones
Writer: Jon Jones
Stars: Noa Thomas, Gruffydd Weston, Rowan Jones
Release Date: 7 June 2019 (UK)