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The 25 greatest summer cinemas

Which movies good capture the holiday season? Observer film pundits pick their sizzling-hot favourites

1. The Talented Mr Ripley

Anthony Minghella( 1999 )

Theres a certain kind of sunshine that kisses everything with gold. And Anthony Minghellas slick adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith thriller captivates it perfectly that gilded easy privilege of the in-crowd, slumming it during a long, languid summer on the Italian sea-coast. Beguiled by nights hop-skip with jazz electric, alive conman Tom Ripley( Matt Damon) meets himself exquisitely tortured by the fickle exuberances and casual savagery of Dickie Greenleaf( Jude Law ). Perhaps not even Tom can unpick the mess of feelings he detects for Dickie does he want to have him? Or to be him? He opts for the latter. Wendy Ide

Do
Electrifying: Do the Right Thing. Picture: Alamy Stock Photo

2. Do the Right Thing

Spike Lee( 1989 )

Whoo-ee, its gonna be a scorcher today! During the hottest daylight of the summer, tensions come to the simmer in a pressure-cooker Brooklyn neighbourhood. When first liberated, Spike Lees electrifying drama feared some conservative critics, who cried that the cinema was an provocation to riot specific claims previously made of such agreed classics as The Blackboard Jungle ( 1955 ). Brilliantly captivating the scorching flavour of a Bedford-Stuyvesant district heatwave, Do the Right Thing is as thrillingly edgy today as it was nearly 30 years ago. It earned Lee his first Oscar nomination, for better original screenplay. Mark Kermode

Zo
Zo Heran in Tomboy.

3. Tomboy

Cline Sciamma( 2011 )

New to a leafy suburbium of Paris, 10 -year-old Laure( Zo Hran) immediately descends in with the local teenagers who invest the endless summertime vacations hanging out in the timbers. But she inserts herself as Mikael , not Laure. With her cropped whisker and loose-limbed skater posture, she is accepted by everyone as a boy, even starting a tentative flirting with an older daughter. With this sensitive, understated learn of a transgender child, Cline Sciamma beautifully captures the suspended world of summer. No academy , no number, new friends. For a few short months, Laure/ Mikael is perfectly free. WI

Harriet
Harriet Andersson and Lars Ekborg in Bergmans Summer with Monika. Image: Alamy

4. Summertime With Monika

Ingmar Bergman( 1953 )

People simply casually acquainted with the work of Ingmar Bergman wouldnt think about him as an especially summery film-maker: chilly hopelessnes may seem the characteristic temperature of his oeuvre, until you get to the spry, glistening warmth of Smiles of a Summer Night ( 1955 ), the composure of Summer Interlude ( 1951 ), and, good of all, this airy, tender and finally bittersweet seasonal intrigue between two beautiful working-class teenagers, which still tingles with the kind of open sensuality that shocked non-Swedish audiences back in 1953. To watch it is akin to feeling a late-summer gale on the back of your cervix. Guy Lodge

Kathryn
Kathryn Worth, Tom Hiddleston and Mary Roscoe in Joanna Hoggs Unrelated. Photo: Alamy

5. Unrelated

Joanna Hogg( 2007 )

The ultimate Brits-abroad nightmare-holiday film, in which a middle-aged dame( Kathryn Worth) connects her luxury friends at their Tuscany recede. Arriving alone, she is not simply appears increasingly like a spare part, but risks her glory as she tries to attract a young alpha male a first big-screen sighting of Tom Hiddleston. If this subtly pain slapstick of ways isnt teeth-grinding enough for you, try the male counterpart Suntan ( Argyris Papadimitropoulos, 2016) in which a medical doctor on a Greek island descends horribly in love with a carefree Lolita among the Euro-vacationers. Both films should be pursued prefaced by informs for viewers of either copulation aged above, do, 35. Jonathan Romney

Watch a trailer for Adventureland .

6. Adventureland

Greg Mottola( 2009 )

This 1980 s-set teen movie takes lieu in a shitty theme park that touts Giant Ass Pandas as unwinnable loots and honks Falcos Rock Me Amadeus on loop-the-loop from its tinny orators. Jesse Eisenbergs James is put there for the summer earning coin for college while his friends advance Europe; he convenes the quiet, endlessly cooler Em( Kristen Stewart ); the two fall in love as fireworks explode across the sky to the racket of Crowded Houses Dont Dream Its Over. A hangout slapstick that speaks to the teenagerish gumption of longing suffered during a dull summer spent at home its perfect. Simran Hans

Samantha
Samantha Morton in Lynne Ramsays Morvern Callar. Picture: www.ronaldgrantarchive.com

7. Morvern Callar

Lynne Ramsay( 2002 )

Full of sweat and sangria and plagiarized clinches with strangers, Morvern Callars hedonistic Ibiza trip is the kind of summer break that changes the room you relate to the world for ever. For Morvern( a mesmerising Samantha Morton ), counted by the suicide of her boyfriend and a lifetime spent in a gloomy Scottish dead-end township, its official holidays that opens her eyes. On a impulse, she and her friend Lanna hire a gondola to take them high into the hills. They find their way locked by a neighbourhood gala. Morvern simply carried her suitcase from the car and meets in. At that instant, she rejects the expectations that fasten to her dwelling city and decides to follow her inclinations instead. WI

Janet
Janet Landguard and Burt Lancaster in The Swimmer. Image: Moviestore

8. The Swimmer

Frank Perry( 1968 )

Forget the beach for a minute. For some of us, its the sharp-witted, sour fragrance of swimming-pool chlorine that most vividly elicits summertime, and no film not even its most famous near-contemporary The Graduate ( 1967) carries it quite as pungently as Frank Perrys woozy, dreamy modification of a John Cheever story. Presenting up at a friends pool defendant one perfect weekend, a strapping Burt Lancaster resolves to swim his way home through the backyards and blue liquids of suburban Connecticut, his unhappy past drench through with every stop. The sunkissed perfection and solidifying void of the American Dream have rarely been explored in such simultaneous detail. GL

Apichatpong
Apichatpong Weerasethakuls Blissfully Yours: an oblique, languorous fable. Image: Alamy

9. Blissfully Yours

Apichatpong Weerasethakul( 2002 )

Not strictly a summertime movie, but a chant to the exultation of sweat, sexuality and daydream in a lush grove place. Thai auteur Apichatpong reaches movies( 2010 s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives , Cemetery of Splendor from 2015) that send the witnes into a confused district of parallel consciousness nowhere more so than in this oblique, dreamy fable. Thats partly thanks to a voice motif rich with birdsong, insect chirps and the swish of foliage. Two women and a soldier be removed from their daily questions for a jungle interrupt and some graphically depicted intimacy. Steamy in every feel, but also intensely strange and beautiful. JR

Vincent
Vincent Gauthier and Marie Rivire in ric Rohmers The Green Ray. Picture: Alamy

10. The Green Ray

ric Rohmer( 1986 )

Lets face it. Summer can be shit. Like New Years Eve, the annual vacation comes with such an apprehension of happiness that a bad epoch feels like a personal failing. For Delphine( a largely improvised rendition by Marie Rivire ), evicted from her friends holiday contrives and miserably adrift on the periphery of other people excursions, the summer vacation is a source of acute feeling. Shot on super 16 mm, the film examines as grainy as a beach barbecue on a windy era. It has an unflinching naturalism and accuracy which stimulates this ambling, unfocused quest for an elusive good time into painfully obsessive viewing. WI

William
William Hurt and Kathleen Hurt in Lawrence Kasdans Body Heat. Photograph: Allstar

11. Body Heat

Lawrence Kasdan( 1981 )

Literally and figuratively one of the hottest movies Ive investigated, Body Heat is an updated riff on Billy Wilders classic noir Double Indemnity ( 1944 ). A southern gothic erotic thriller with a B-movie style saxophone on the soundtrack, it stars Kathleen Turner( before she became the articulation of Jessica Rabbit) and a mustachioed William Hurt as a pair of sweethearts beat into a sweaty, enthusiastic frenzy by the dizzying Florida heat. The chemistry between the pair is electric, “but hes” Turners film; a hot, conspiring seductress, iconic in the white-hot blouse and blood-red pencil hem that realizes Hurts Ned contact boiling point. SH

Roy
Roy Scheider in Spielbergs classic Jaws. Picture: Allstar

12. Jaws

Steven Spielberg( 1975 )

Steven Spielbergs visceral modification of Peter Benchleys insatiable best-seller scared a generation out of the sea and into the cinema. The storey a cross between Melvilles Moby-Dick and Ibsens An Antagonist of the People receives a seaside resort terrorised by a great grey shark as the 4 July holiday glean near. Roy Scheider is perfectly shed as the police chief who fails to close the beaches, with cruel ensues. With its sunny vistas and blood seas, Jaws ate modern cinema whole; four years thereafter, its hopeless to go for a summertime swimming without listening John Williamss threatening topic. MK

Diego
Diego Luna, Maribel Verd and Gael Garci Bernal smacked the road in Y Tu Mam Tambin Photograph: Alamy

13. Y Tu Mam Tambin

Alfonso Cuarn( 2001 )

A vibrant action by Maribel Verd drives this rip-roaring road movie. Abandoned by their girlfriends for the summer, two hot-headed youths( Gael Garca Bernal and Diego Luna) team up with Verds more worldly Luisa on an often chaotic passage of breakthrough. The great humanist critic Roger Ebert famously quoth Y Tu Mam Tambin as highlighting everything that was wrong with the US ratings organization, describing the cinema as realistic about fornication, which is to say, franker and healthier than the ribald deceptions coerced on American movies by the R rating. MK

Katharine
Katharine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi in David Leans Summertime. Photo: Alamy

14. Summertime

David Lean( 1955 )

Crammed with toddling tourists and hideous knockoff celebration concealments, the canals of Venice in midsummer are about as viable a lieu to find love these days as the gardening-tools aisle of B& Q. Sixty-odd years ago, however, David Lean painted a much more swoonsome representation, with this iridescent Technicolor tale of an impermanent holiday fiction every bit as lovely and as heart-stirring as his more routinely celebrated Brief Encounter ( 1945 ). Katharine Hepburn, in one of her excellent screen roles, is the buttoned-up Ohio singleton who temporarily gets to live her excellent life under the Venetian sun, in the arms of dreamy antique merchant Rossano Brazzi. The scent of gardenias practically wafts off the screen. GL

Watch a trailer for Lilo& Stitch .

15. Lilo& Stitch

Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois( 2002 )

Perhaps not the best-loved item in the latter-day Disney canon, but this eccentric science-fiction escapade one of the studios afterward hand-drawn animations has anarchic intensity to burn. Stitch is a genetically engineered life formation from infinite, something between a koala and a Boston terrier in a colors tint of off-color. Lilo is the equally disorderly Hawaiian daughter who chooses him as her puppy and teams up with him to sidestep extraterrestrials and social workers alike. Elvis digits and surfing pratfalls abound. Not without tints of cuteness, but Stitchs manic mischief will strike a chord with the Tasmanian Devil in every child. JR

Linday
Linday Lohan redoubles up for the lead roles in The Parent Trap. Image: Allstar

16. The Parent Trap

Nancy Meyers( 1998 )

Nancy Meyers is Americas greatest working classicist. Excellent known for her romantic humors( and her detailed attention to middle-class interior design ), her family-friendly remake of The Parent Trap ( 1961) doesnt abandon that format alone. The movie star Lindsay Lohan as a duo of twinneds disconnected at birth who matched on holiday at Camp Walden aged 11, and swap lives in a bid to reunite their divorced parents( the late Natasha Richardson, and my favourite vineyard-owning red-hot papa, Dennis Quaid ). Lohan is a glee as both rascal Cali Girl Hallie and the hilariously plummy, tweed skirt-suited Brit Annie. SH

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