The Greengage Summer

Watch The Greengage Summer

"A young girl's awakening in a summer of evil!"
  • Approved
  • 1961
  • 1 hr 39 min
  • 6.7  (584)

Set in France in the 1950s, “The Greengage Summer” is a coming-of-age film telling the story of a young girl named Joss (Susannah York) and her siblings as they spend their summer in a French villa with their mother. The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Rumer Godden, and it features an ensemble cast consisting of British and French actors.

The story begins with the arrival of Joss (short for Josephine) and her siblings to the French villa where they will spend their summer. Their mother, who is never seen on screen, is supposed to arrive the next day. As they settle in, Joss quickly becomes smitten with Eliot (Kenneth More), the mysterious and charismatic owner of a neighboring estate. Eliot takes an interest in Joss and invites her to join him on his estate, which leads her to learn about her own desires and the different ways people can experience love.

Meanwhile, Joss’s siblings also experience their own summertime adventures. Her younger sister, Hester (Jane Asher), befriends Madame Zizi (Danielle Darrieux), a glamorous celebrity who teaches her about beauty and sophistication. Her younger brother, Will (David Saire), falls in love with Joséphine (Claude Nollier), Eliot’s maid, and learns about prejudice and social class.

The film is a coming-of-age tale in which Joss learns about love, longing, and desire through her interactions with Eliot. Over the course of the summer, Joss wrestles with her feelings for Eliot, as well as her own burgeoning sense of herself as a young woman. The film’s setting in rural France plays a crucial role in the story, as it depicts the idyllic countryside and the sense of adventure that comes with being on vacation. The film’s romanticism is heightened by the lush landscapes and the laid-back lifestyle, adding to the film’s sense of nostalgia and escapism.

Despite the film’s romantic themes, “The Greengage Summer” also deals with more serious issues, such as class struggles and the dangers of naivety. Joss’s siblings are young and innocent, and the film depicts the dangers that come with that youthfulness. They can easily be taken advantage of, particularly by adults who are not looking out for their best interests. This tension creates a sense of unease throughout the film, underscoring the importance of awareness and caution even in idyllic surroundings.

The performances in the film are strong, particularly from Susannah York, who imbues her character with a vulnerability and intelligence that makes her relatable even to modern audiences. Kenneth More delivers a strong turn as the charismatic Eliot, imbuing him with an enigmatic quality that keeps the audience guessing about his true motives. Danielle Darrieux is also excellent as the glamorous Madame Zizi, providing both comic relief and a sense of wisdom and experience to the story.

Overall, “The Greengage Summer” is a charming and engaging film that will appeal to fans of coming-of-age dramas and romantic films. Its setting in rural France adds a sense of heightened romance and nostalgia, while its themes of young love, desire, and class struggles make the story feel relevant even decades later.

The Greengage Summer
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 39 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (584)