Available on Streaming Services.
Days of Bagnold Summer is the directorial debut of Simon Bird (yes he of The Inbetweeners fame) and provides a charming portrait of coming to terms with change and re-defining who you are. Based on a graphic novel by Joff Winterhart it focuses on the awkward but loving relationship between a teenage boy, Daniel, played by Earl Cave and his single Mum Sue (Monica Dolan).
Birds film is a gentle look at an evolving mother and son relationship when the two of them unexpectedly find themselves spending the 6 weeks of summer school holiday’s together when Daniels now Florida based Dad changes their summer plans.
Daniel is your “average” surly teenager his look and attitude informed by his love for heavy metal bands, sporting a fine selection of black Metallica T-shirts, while his mum is the archetypal quiet librarian, dressing to “un-impress” with a safe haircut and hiding behind the comfort of her glasses.
The two main characters are hugely engaging throughout as you see the desire from Sue to find ways to be close to her son who is trying to find his place in the world, while he is auditioning to become the lead singer for a new band, alongside trying to come to terms with that annoying gentle encouragement from his Mum to get a summer job, tidy up, go shopping and her insistence that he can’t go to a wedding later in the summer in a pair of black trainers and needs new shoes.
While this kind of look at a relationship isn’t particularly new and this story doesn’t do anything unexpected with the premise, the story is lovingly told and the change in the relationship built around the family dog during the final act is charming. Daniels realisation of what his Mum means to him alongside her own, that she needs to help him find his own way and compromise a little on her idea of how he should be, provides a satisfying conclusion.
Simon Bird shows some nice touches, I’d particularly encourage that you look out for the representations of distance that are dropped in throughout the film which I thought were really well done and the two main characters are strongly supported, especially by Tamsin Grieg and Alice Lowe.
Days of Bagnold Summer is an enjoyable piece of work, with characters you enjoy spending time with and for anyone with teenage kids, provides a fun peek into a world many of us are familiar with.