Death bed confessions can lead to all sorts of drama, especially when it turns out your grandmother has been keep a lot very close to the chest. As Jamie’s grandma is in the hospital she begins revealing every secret she’s ever had as well as some pivotal advice that will lead the teenager to make some very mature decisions in Summer ’03.
Jamie’s grandmother’s last words to her are that she secretly had Jamie baptized, even though her mother is Jewish, and that she needs to learn how to give a good blowjob. Not exactly the words you would think a dying woman would tell her granddaughter. These words lead Jamie to go to a Catholic church and when she’s there she meets a young man going through seminary school, this means he is getting ready to become a priest, and she feels an instant connection. With her grandmother’s second reveal to her in her mind she decides that his man is the one she wants to be with and the two start a sexual relationship. This isn’t the only drama going on. Jamie’s dad has gone to find his biological father, her mother and aunt are coping with their own issues, and her very young cousin is trying to understand why his grandmother would tell him he is a homosexual. With everyone grieving and trying to figure out what to do with the new information they’ve received drama keeps erupting in their lives that makes this a summer that no one will ever be able to forget.
What Jamie is going through results in a lot of confused feelings towards two different boys, one of whom is the soon to be priest that never should have pursued a relationship with a young girl who just wanted to understand her grandmother’s faith. She also has a few outbursts that feel very typical for a teen drama, but what is interesting is that the adults around her also seem to be going through their own sort of rebellions. While grief should allow them to move on, her grandmother’s choices to reveal secrets and opinions have made everyone so fragile and confused. The story I was actually most interested in throughout the movie was Jamie’s cousin, Dylan. This young kid is literally told by the oldest member of his family that she believes he is a homosexual and she should have had him fixed. This is just vile, I hated her character so much in that moment. Dylan has no idea what homosexual even means and then keeps trying to figure out how to fix something he has been told he has without knowing why. The redeeming element of this is that when Jamie learns what he was told she is as irate as I was and tells Dylan that he is a cool kid no matter how he ultimately winds up identifying. Dylan actually manages to handle all of this relatively well, which shows so much strength in his character. I really felt a kinship with this young boy and he added so much to this movie for me. You can find Summer ’03 for streaming today.