Harry Lund is a nineteen-year-old man who meets Monika, a romantic, reckless and rebellious seventeen-year-old, and they fall in love. They leave their families and jobs in their small town, Harry gets his father’s boat and they spend the summer together in an isolated island. Monika gets pregnant, and Harry decides to marry her. He grows up, gets a job and returns to his studies, trying to improve their lives and raise their daughter June, while Monika just wants to have fun.
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
User Reviews: Nouvelle vague from Skandinavia. It is one of those films in Bergman’s oeuvre which hasn’t completely lost the hope for the good and love yet and from that period, Sommaren med Monika is probably his most impressive work. The film is an ode to the vitality and joie de vivre of the youth, about it’s rebellion and breaking out, exploring and checking and therefore, compared to Bergman’s sixties, a pretty hopeful take on life. For the first half at least, until the couple is confronted with reality after a few days of liberation and from now on, they have to suffer the loss of their courage, spirit of adventure, the faith in each other and consequently the loss of their young love. The wonderful time with Monika does not remain – the only thing everyone can bank on.
It’s remarkable, now from a perspective of more than 50 years ahead, how this film is (also) a homage to Harriet Andersson. At that time, there hardly was a similarly fresh, natural and at the same time sublime appearance in Europe’s auteur cinema. With every shot, Bergman and cinematographer Gunnar Fischer capture her beauty and lightness perfectly. In one of the earliest nude scenes of European cinema they underline her innocent naturalness and love for nature, a naturalism in acting which is Andersson’s strength when you think of the death scene in Cries and Whispers or the madness of Karin in Through a Glass Darkly. Her face, her entire guise stands, next to Liv Ullmann’s, Bibi Andersson’s or Ingrid Thulin’s, for more than half a decade of superb Swedish cinema history.