A Dozen Summers is a micro budget (£20,000) film from writer, director and producer Kenton Hall who has made a very ambitious film for his first feature.
As it opens we are greeted by the warm, familiar voice of Colin Baker (Dr Who) as he begins to narrate a childhood adventure story. He is soon stopped in his tracks and the film’s narrative is hijacked by Maisie and Daisy McCormack (played by Kenton’s own children Hero and Scarlett Hall).
Maisie and Daisy are 12 year old twin girls who, after some humorous bickering and debate, decide to make a film of their own lives.
The story is simple enough; we follow the girls as they navigate through life in the modern world: tackling bullies, their parent’s separation and subsequent new boyfriends, and of course dealing with the instant suspicions cast over them by grown ups.
Yes, the story is straightforward but it is not often given much screen time in the movie-world. Children’s stories are rarely seen solely through the eyes of the young people that embody them; they are instead skewed through an ‘adult lens’; adults have their own agenda, their own story and their own way of telling those stories.
In A Dozen Summers though it is the kids that are in control of the narrative; something that is oft pointed out by the other characters in a frequent and interesting breaking of the fourth wall.
The film suffers, as one may expect from such a tiny budget, from a few minor sound flaws and moments of inexperienced acting but it more than makes up for it with its charm.
Kenton Hall also stars as the girl’s stay at home Dad, Henry, and (for my money) has the best lines of the film. His Dad jokes and general demeanor is spot on and is genuinely funny.
Maisie and Daisy’s slightly aloof and largely absent mother, Jacqueline, is played by the delightful Sarah Warren, who brings both charisma and humour to her performance.
In an atypical role reversal of the stereotyped gender roles we usually see in Hollywood, it is Jacqueline who pursues her career as a “model” and dates numerous boyfriends, whilst Henry has the girls with him full time.
The film bends the rules of cinema as Maisie and Daisy are aware they are in a film and so are able to edit at a snap of their fingers, literally; meaning they are able to jump from scene to scene flawlessly.
For me, the highlights were the scenes where we get to see the girls’ imaginations playing out; whether it’s dreams in animals onesies or a hilarious scene in which they envisage their mother marching into school to reprimand the girl that bullies them by slapping her across the face with long silk gloves.
A Dozen Summers is an enjoyable family film bursting with wit and charm that is bound to entertain.
A Dozen Summers is released in limited cinemas on August 21st.