A Dozen Summers is about 12 year old twins who wish to tell their story about growing up and whats happening in their life. The film starts by focusing on a children’s story with a narrator (Colin Baker) telling the story in a David Attenborough style voice over. Daisy and Maisie (Hero and Scarlet Hall) then hijack the film to tell the story they want to tell.
In order to tell their story the twins break the fourth wall and talk to the audience. This is somewhat needed as their story starts as slightly confusing and muddled until they actually tell you that they are hijacking the film to tell you about their life. The way in which they do this is to include fantasy sequences as well as their day to day life. The cut down certain events with ‘editing’ by clicking their fingers and jumping forward to the next event. This helps the audience understand how the twins are feeling and provokes memories, in particular when they edit a school day as its deemed too boring.
Written and directed by Kenton Hall (who is the twins real-life father), he also stars as their dad in the film. Parts of this film are excellently written, in particular the dialogue between the father and his daughters, there are some funny one liners and it really invites you into their world.
Unfortunately, the acting isn’t great and although Kenton Hall plays his part well, the same cant be said for the twins. In the most part it is not awful but their acting is very wooden and it becomes obvious at certain points that they are reading from a script and are looking at each for cues so that they can say their next line. This style of acting creates a very ‘flat’ feeling and it seems as if the actors themselves aren’t that enthusiastic. There is also some slips with looks to the camera. The girls talk to the camera as part of the film but their male friend occasionally has slight glances at the camera when he walking in and out of shot, its not clear if this is meant to be intentional or not.
There is one scene which requires all the actors to stand completely frozen whilst the father and daughters walk amongst them talking. It is very clear that instead of freezing the frame, the actors are actually acting frozen and this is done very well. Apart from the obvious signs of breathing no one moves a single body part or eyelid, this gives quite a chilling feel to the scene but it also makes it seem realistic and is in keeping with the whole style in which the film is shot.
The story is interesting but unfortunately its not that engaging, there could stand to be a few more defining scenes as the one that stands out is when most of the actors aren’t actually moving or talking. As quirky films go, there is enough to keep the viewer watching from beginning to end but not enough to want to watch it again.
Dir: Kenton Hall
Scr: Kenton Hall
Cast: Kenton Hall, Hero Hall, Scarlet Hall, Ewen Macintosh, Colin Baker
Prd: Kenton Hall, Alexzandra Jackson, Ary Alcantara
DOP: Geoffrey Gilson
Music: Kenton Hall, Mark Haynes, John McCourt, Brett Richardson, Andrew Stamp
Runtime: 84 mins