Summer of '42
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A surprise success in 1971 ($20 million worth of "surprise"), The Summer of '42 is a coming-of-age piece, drenched in nostalgia. Director Robert Mulligan narrates the film as the grown-up counterpart of Hermie (Gary Grimes), a teenager of the War Years who has a crush on twentyish Jennifer O'Neill. With O'Neill's soldier husband off to war, Grimes convinces himself that he can take hubby's place in every way. O'Neill is amused by Grimes' attentions (confined to doing chores and carrying her groceries), but never thinks of him in sexual terms. And then,… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Summer of '42 has a large amount of charm and tenderness; it also has little dramatic economy and much eye-exhausting photography which translates to forced and artificial emphasis on a strungout story."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Nostalgia is used as a distancing device -- to keep us safely insulated from the boy's immediate grief, love, and passion."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"In the early hijinks phase, the film seems like a dry run for Porky's, but it later gets into the business of fluttering curtains, walks on sandy beaches and longing glances."
‑ , Empire Magazine
"Nostalgic coming-into-manhood fantasy."
‑ Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan
"It's apparent in every scene that this is a highly personal film for screenwriter Raucher, and the nostalgia is so palpable that it nearly slides off the screen."
‑ Scott Weinberg, Apollo Guide
"It forever misses, unlike American Graffiti, the heady sexual climate of adolescence to concentrate on the circumstances of the sex act itself."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"People who actually recall 1942 will more greatly appreciate the waves of nostalgia that bathe this affectionate coming-of-age drama, set on a tiny island off New England."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
""Summer Of '42" is an unforgettable meditation on sexual awakening and loss during WWII."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"The interaction between Grimes and his teenage co-stars - the sharp, crude Houser and the more innocent Conant - is engaging, and the spare, uncluttered soundtrack is recompense for Mulligan's overblown visuals."
‑ , Film4
"A discerning and appreciative translation of one boy's trip along a trajectory of psychological and sexual change."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
""Summer of '42" is a memory movie, written, directed and acted with such uncommon good humor that I don't think you'll be put off by its sweet soft-focus, at least until you start analyzing it afterwards."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"Visually lyrical film romance also has problems with dubious views on teen sexuality."
‑ Michael E. Grost, Classic Film and Television
"One of the cinematic coming-of-age stories that started a trend."
‑ James Plath, Movie Metropolis
"Dates very badly indeed"
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
More reviews for Summer of '42 on Rotten Tomatoes