“What if [timeless classic], but girls?” continues to be a popular strategy in Hollywood, despite decidedly mixed results. Stand By Me is the latest to get this treatment, and though Summering isn’t a one-to-one reboot of the ’80s film, the influence is unmistakable.
Summering follows four friends (Lia Barnett, Madalen Mills, Eden Grace Redfield, and Sanai Victoria) on the cusp of starting middle school. Per IndieWire, “The girls spend time in the woods using their imaginations in a place they call Terabithia—in a nod to the classic children’s novel beloved as it is controversial for its frankness in dealing with death—where they make their own harrowing discovery that forces them to deal with the realities of the adult world, like death, suicide, homelessness, and parents’ shortcomings.”
The inciting incident for the girls’ entry into the adult world is a page right out of the Stand By Me handbook: discovering a dead body. In a new clip from the film, the friends debate doing “the Law & Order thing” themselves instead of alerting authorities: “Come on. This is our last weekend before middle school. And before you know it, it’ll be Monday first period,” argues Dina (Mills). Clearly, a regular old end-of-summer camping trip is not enough of a bonding ritual for these kids!
Summering is directed by James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now), who co-wrote the script with Benjamin Percy. Ponsoldt told IndieWire that as he was looking for films to share with his own daughter, “I rewound in my memory and realized when I was a kid, stories I had that were either coming-of-age stories or stories about first brushes with mortality and death—there were quite a few of them, and they always had male protagonists.”
Lola (Sanai Victoria) makes a similar point in the clip: “My mom won’t let me watch all those shows you’re talking about because she says it’s always about men killing girls, and other men saving girls, or finding the dead girls they could have saved. This is on us. This is our body.”
The film also stars Lake Bell, Sarah Cooper, Ashley Madekwe, and Megan Mullally as the girls’ mothers. Summering premieres August 12, 2022.