At the heart of A Dozen Summers’ appeal is its genuine, almost heartfelt, attempt to look at the world through the eyes of the girls, as opposed to showing what adults think they see.
Directed By Kenton Hall
For an actor to step behind the camera isn’t unusual: in fact, it’s almost becoming de rigeur. But when he’s directing himself, producing, writing and composing the songs, the danger of a whiff of vanity project is all too apparent. Thankfully, that isn’t the case with Kenton Hall’s A DOZEN SUMMERS, which starts its roll-out around the country today. If anything, it’s a labour of love.
It’s also one that turns the convention of childen’s films very neatly on its head and with a certain amount of relish. And we’re left in no doubt of its intentions from the very outset, with Colin Baker’s deliberately saccharine narration abruptly cut short by the two stars of the film, Daisy and Maisie, played by Hall’s own daughters Hero and Scarlet.
The story, such as it is, follows the lives of the twelve year old twins. We see them at school, in the company of their friends and up against the school bully. We see them at home. They live with their dad (Hall), who’s separated from their mother Jacqueline (Sarah Warren): she’s making her way as a model (not a proper one, as Daisy rather pointedly observes) and moving from one unsuitable boyfriend to another until she settles with one that comes complete with an expensive minimalist house. The girls would like their dad to find somebody as well, and try to kindle a romance between him and one of their teachers.
But this is a film where the narrative takes second place. What’s really important here is looking at the world through the eyes of the young teenagers and translating that to the screen. And the world is decidedly confusing as far as they’re concerned, with adults being the number one puzzle. So, to help sort it out, they’re making a film about their lives, which means they’re in control and can do anything they like. And they do. With a Mary Poppins click of the fingers. That means the girls’ day to day lives are mixed with fantasy scenes which, though quirky, make a certain amount of sense, even when the twins are sat in the park in their bunny-eared onsies.
At the heart of A Dozen Summers’ appeal is its genuine, almost heartfelt, attempt to look at the world through the eyes of the girls, as opposed to showing what adults think they see. It’s a strange conundrum that we’ve all been teenagers, yet remembering the world as we saw it then, let alone showing it, seems close to impossible. Which means that, although this is mainly a film for and about children, it’s also for anybody of 12 and over. Because they’ll all get something from it.