Summering parents guide

Summering Parent Guide

A talented cast can't save an unconvincing script.

Overall C-

Theaters: Four best friends try to make the most of their last summer before middle school, only to unexpectedly come across a dead body.

Release date August 12, 2022

Violence C+
Sexual Content A
Profanity B-
Substance Use A-

Why is Summering rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Summering PG-13 For some thematic material.

Run Time: 87 minutes

Parent Movie Review

“In the summer anything’s possible,” says Daisy (Lia Barnett). “Everything blooms or drifts or hums. It feels like I could drown in all the life around me.” With middle school right around the corner, Daisy and her friends Lola, Dina, and Mari (played by Sanai Victoria, Madalen Mills, and Eden Grace Redfield respectively) are determined to revel in their final weeks of freedom.

As the girls run wild through the undeveloped land near their homes, their fun abruptly stops when Daisy finds a dead body. Afraid that reporting the death will bring incessant questions from their parents, police, and whatever psychologists are deemed necessary, the girls come up with an unorthodox plan.

It’s obvious that director James Ponsoldt is trying to make a female version of Stand by Me, the film classic about four boys who go in search of a body and learn about themselves while strengthening their bond. The similarities are hard to miss. None of the girls search for the body, but when they stumble across it, they work together and deepen their friendship as they gain insight into the challenges they each face at home. This is a familiar formula, but it fails to transcend the tropes in this unremarkable film.

The blame does not fall on the cast, who do the best they can with what they’ve got to work with. They are earnest, mischievous, frightened, guilt-stricken, and heartbroken at various points in the script and their emotions are always authentic. What isn’t credible is the basic premise of the story – that the girls don’t simply call in the police when they discover the corpse. The rationales for their choice are never believably articulated, weakening the entire film.

With a plot that lacks credibility, the entire movie suffers. It’s difficult to stay engaged when the behavior of the characters doesn’t make sense. This movie is only 87 minutes long, but it feels exponentially longer.

If you are still considering Summering for teen viewing, you can be assured that the PG-13 rating is accurate. Profanity is minimal and there is no sexual content. Even the dead body at the center of the story is not bloody or obviously injured. The girls see the dead man from time to time in frightening moments, but these moments are brief and won’t scare teens. Religious parents should take note of a séance in the plot that might conflict with their values.

Relatively minor plot-related negative content aside, what will almost certainly frustrate adult viewers is the complete absence of consequences faced by the girls. They have hidden a body, pursued potentially dangerous “detective” work, illegally used a firearm, and lied to their mothers. The consequence? A sleepover. Frankly, if I had tried to pull even a fraction of those stunts, I would have been grounded until I turned 30. The story’s message about the sustaining power of female friendship is great, but that is overshadowed by the pervasive plot idea that you can make dumb and dangerous choices and not face any consequences. That’s not a message most parents are going to want their kids to absorb.

Directed by James Ponsoldt. Starring Lia Barnett, Sanai Victoria, Madalen Mills. Running time: 87 minutes. Theatrical release August 12, 2022. Updated

Watch the trailer for Summering

Rating & Content Info

Why is Summering rated PG-13? Summering is rated PG-13 by the MPAA For some thematic material.

Violence:   Children find a dead body; no blood or injuries are visible. A dead young woman is seen on a television. Girls see frightening images of a dead man. A child steals a parent’s firearm and shoots it. There’s brief mention of murder and cannibalism. Children briefly discuss suicide.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity:  There are fewer than a half dozen profanities in the script, including terms of deity, scatological curses, and a minor profanity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A sleeping adult is seen holding an unidentified beverage which is likely alcohol.

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Summering Parents' Guide

Why don’t the girls phone the police when they find the body? What do they decide to do instead and why? What are the potential dangers of this decision? What would you have done in their place?

What kind of consequences would you expect the girls to face? Why do you think there were no consequences for their behavior?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

This film alludes to other movies like Bridge to Terabithiaand Stand by Me.

Girls’ adolescent friendships can be turbulent or sustaining and are frequently covered in film. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantscelebrates the bond that unites a group of friends, who will be separated for the summer. In Bend It Like Beckham, Jess’s best friend encourages her to follow her dreams instead of the expectations of her very traditional parents. The horrors of middle school social rankings are made worse by technology in the animated Disney movie, Ron’s Gone Wrong. The vulnerability of tween girls is disturbingly apparent in Eighth Grade, the story of a 13 year old, desperate to fit in with her classmates.