Synopsis: Seven friends reunite for a week-long reunion at a summer camp in Ontario they used to attend as children which is now threatened with being closed down.
Stars: Alan Arkin, Matt Craven, Diane Lane, Julie Warner, Vincent Spano, Sam Raimi, Elizabeth Perkins, Kimberly Williams, Kevin Pollak, Bill Paxton
Director: Mike Binder
Running Length: 97 minutes
TMMM Score: (8.5/10)
Review: This is truly one of my favorite movies and my appreciation of it has only grown as I’ve become an adult. Released in 1993, Indian Summer was called out as ‘The Big Chill goes to summer camp’ — a not entirely unfair comparison when you consider it involves a group of friends gathering together after years apart to reminisce about their youth, rekindle old flames, and come to terms where their life journey has taken them.
Why this film has become as valuable to me as an adult is the way it handles the sensitivity and humor that’s found in the transition people go through as they age. Some people can never really outgrow their teen angst or feelings of inadequacy…just as some see maturing as a way to start over again. Director/screenwriter Binder (Crossing the Bridge, The Upside of Anger) manages to shuffle a wonderful cast around in situations that may seem like retreads of any number of films…without ever making them feel old-hat.
That’s partly thanks to the breezy script but most certainly attributed to a fine cast of actors who interact with each other and their surroundings over the course of their week-long stay at the summer camp of their youth. The standout to me is still Perkins (The Doctor, Avalon) as a wise-cracking but wise single that has something to say in every situation but closely guards her own emotions. She’s followed by Lane’s grieving widow that maybe hasn’t truly accepted the loss she experienced. Warner and Spano are appealing actors that I miss seeing in film — their troubled marriage has impacts on several other characters.
Craven, Pollack, and Williams too have nice turns with their well-drawn characters and a scene stealing Raimi (director of Oz The Great and Powerful and the original The Evil Dead) is a riot as a simpleton handyman around camp. Academy Award winner Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine, Argo, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone) balances his deadpan aloofness with a warmth that reminds us all of someone we look up to and want to emulate.
Filmed on location at Binder’s Canadian summer camp, the movie absolutely glows with a vibrancy that few films can really capture well. Returning to this film at least once a year I find myself drawn to its wacky humor, late-night hi-jinks, and serious heart – it has an authenticity that keeps me smiling and continues to be a film I whip out when someone needs a recommendation for quality entertainment.