Summer Coda is a languid, relaxing, summer movie set in Mildura’s (Victoria, Australia) stunning orange groves.
Heidi (Rachael Taylor) is travelling back from the US to her birth place to attend her estranged father’s funeral. She hasn’t spoken to him since she was seven. She needs to bring this part of her life to a close. As she hitchhikes her way there, she is picked up by Michael (Alexis Dimitriades) and a friendship forms. After the tense funeral and subsequent wake, Heidi decides to stay on for a while to work through her emotions, relationships with family, and the deepening romance between her and Michael. She is employed on Michael’s orange grove as a picker. As she works alongside the regular itinerant fruit pickers, an undercurrent of tension mounts which confuses Heidi. Something is not right and she doesn’t know what it is.
Summer Coda is a very slow, gentle, beautifully nuanced story where most of the action is emotional and character-driven. It’s about grief, relationships, and the struggle to resolve pasts that haunt us. Taylor and Dimitriades are both good in their roles and the relationship they form is believable.
While it is a good movie, it does tend to lose momentum at times. It’s a thoughtful story and provides a refreshing relief from the more sensational fare on offer. It may be one you choose to wait for on DVD.