My First Summer
Markella Kavenagh, Maiah Stewardson, Edwina Wren, Arthur Angel, Steve Mouzakis, Katherine Tonkin, Harvey Zielinski
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…a romantic drama that magnetically draws us into its world.
My First Summer is a beautifully sensitive Australian coming-of-age film written and directed by Katie Found. The film is the first feature she has directed, and stars Markella Kavenagh (Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Gloaming) as Claudia and Maiah Stewardson (Girl Asleep) as Grace.
When Claudia’s mother, author Veronica Fox (Edwina Wren) commits suicide through drowning, Claudia is left to survive on her own in their remote rural property where she was raised to isolate herself from the rest of the world. But Claudia’s world is forever changed when Grace discovers her whereabouts.
The two of them strike a friendship that blossoms into love, and Grace, in all her colourful, sugary sweetness, works to help heal Claudia’s broken heart as she battles through the painful trauma caused by her mother’s death. But the girls must deal with the harsh adult world that threatens their secret summer love.
My First Summer offers comfort in the thought that supportive relationships exist. Claudia and Grace, earnest in their adolescent relationship, are there for one another when the outside world neglects them. The wispy grade and the general tone of the film earns both tears of joy and sadness. The girls’ connection offers them an escape from the difficulties of life, and there is hope in the sense that they will always love each other. Kavenagh and Stewardson’s sincerity is affecting in this exploration of mental health and first love told through the lens of queer female sexuality.
Although My First Summer is not as impactful as the similarly themed and titled 2004 Pawel Pawlikowski breakthrough film My Summer of Love, Katie Found certainly directs her cast expertly to give us a romantic drama that magnetically draws us into its world.