“Summerland ” might look like something you’ve seen before: A scenic story about a schoolchild who must leave London during the war and take up shelter with a reluctant caregiver. But while it is comfortingly familiar in many ways, and a little cliche and overwrought in others, it also has a modern edge and bite to it that keeps it novel enough to sustain interest.
That modernity is credit to writer-director Jessica Swale, a British theater director and playwright, who with “Summerland” makes a noteworthy entry into the world of film. With well-drawn characters and a surprising scope, the story feels like it’s been adapted from a novel (a compliment). And along with cinematographer Laurie Rose, “Summerland” captures three eras in a small seaside town with breathtaking beauty.
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