This joyfully silly, incredibly low budget family feature comes from talented director, writer and co-star Kenton Hall.
Presumably created as a project to showcase the talents of his twin daughters Hero and Scarlet Hall, A Dozen Summers is about what happens when sisters Maisie and Daisy McCormack hijack a children’s film so they can tell their own story. When I say hijack, I mean they have properly taken over. Having noticed that they are extras on the periphery of a story being told about other characters on their way to school, and having argued with the narrator (Colin Baker), they steal the film and make it about them instead.
The McCormack sisters are fun, stroppy, argumentative, and unwilling to take things too seriously – which is great, because for a family orientated drama A Dozen Summers is very funny, hitting well above its weight with more laughs in its running time than many big budget comedy films. Some of the performances are varied but the leads are great, and have an ease in front of the camera which suggests they’ll be performers to look out for in the future. And although the production could do with a teeny bit more finessing – the occasional scene would benefit from another take having been shot to the get the performances just right for the edit for example – the raw exuberance of the thing is infectious.
The film is about what it’s like to be 12 years old – a sort of comedy smorgasbord of things the pair might deal with. There’s not much of a plot as such, but things like their divorced parents, bullying, getting boyfriends and just getting through the school day are covered with a good deal of silly humour. The media literate kids in charge of the stolen movie know about jump cuts and other movie tricks, so employ them with fun. What’s also particularly nice is the suggestion that the story of the children’s film they hijacked is still going on in the background.
The film is a light, frothy family orientated watch that won’t change the world, but is a lot of fun and passes its time on the screen with a confidence that belies the humble scale of its production.
A Dozen Summers is a giggle, and arrives on DVD on 15th August.