Writer/director Becca Gleason makes her feature film debut with the teen coming of age story Summer ‘03. Joey King stars as Jamie, a 16 year old whose beloved grandmother has just passed away. On her deathbed, though, that grandmother (June Squibb) leaves Jamie not only with a number of family secrets but with some advice on how to get and keep a man.
With all that in mind, Jamie is also dealing with the fact that she’s beginning to come out of her shell romantically. Her eye is turned by a young man who volunteers at the local church. All of this leads to conflict at home as she starts acting strangely, something her mother and the rest of her family is going to have to deal with.
King is front and center on the poster, with the sexual nature of the story communicated by the way she’s eating an ice cream cone. Aside from that she looks like the kind of teenager who’s slightly bored with life and everyone around her. The rest of the story is made clear with the copy “Growing up. One mistake at a time.”
Jamie’s dying grandma has some practical if unexpected advice for the girl as the trailer opens. That sets her down a road to act on that guidance during the summer, something she’s still feeling unsure about. Her attitude changes when she meets Luke and they hit if off, inspiring her to go to church more because he’ll be there. We see she goes down a self-destructive path as she tries to figure out what to do about everything coming at her.
It looks like a sweet coming-of-age movie, which it’s even billed as in the trailer.
Online and Social
There’s not much on the page Blue Fox Entertainment created for the movie, which serves as its primary online presence, just a brief synopsis, the poster and a cast list. The only other thing there are links to the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing here that I’ve seen.
Media and Publicity
A clip showing the dynamic between the family members debuted just before the movie screened at SXSW, where the cast and crew did a few interviews to start some conversations about it.
The movie arrives at a good time, able to take advantage of the buzz King accumulated in the wake of The Kissing Booth, which debuted on Netflix a couple months ago, as well as a renewed conversation about teen romance comedies and coming of age stories in general. I take some issue with the over-sexualization of King on the poster, but it’s not out of place with the trailer so those issues are somewhat minor. It seems charming and funny, which is all you can really ask.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.