What You Need To Know:
(H, L, M, N, O, S,) Humanism; roughly 5 obscenities & 3 profanities; several scenes with drinking & drunkenness; some semi-female nudity, but nothing really shown; girl murdered for ritualistic purposes--but actual murder not shown; and, several sex scenes but not explicit.
The film THE SUMMER HOUSE, despite some masterful acting by Jeanne Moreau who plays Lili, and Joan Plowright who plays Mrs. Monro, has a sordid plot full of sexual innuendo, which takes away from the film’s comedy.
Set in the prim, middle-class suburb of Croydon, England, teenager Margaret is engaged to a foppish, forty-year-old man, Syl, who lives with his mother, Mrs. Munro. Margaret and her divorced mother used to live in Egypt, the exotic and erotic memories of which provide Margaret with an active fantasy life. With wedding preparations underway, Lili arrives to be part of the festivities. Lili is Margaret’s mother’s best friend from Egyptian days. Half-French and half-English, Lili’s mischievousness, feminine wiles and notorious romantic life has been unencumbered by British conventions concerning appropriate behavior. Margaret confides in Lili, and Lili realizes that Margaret doesn’t love the bridegroom but doesn’t know how to escape. Right up to the wedding, Lili promises Mrs. Munro that the marriage will not take place. Given Margaret’s unassertiveness, Lili is forced to take drastic measures. Thus, she invites the wedding guests to come to the summer house and see the cactus. What they see is sufficient to prevent the wedding, and for Margaret to enter a convent, which she does.