SBU Spring 2021 Film Series: Review of Days of the Bagnold Summer

Stony Brook’s Staller Center has curated 13 films exclusively for the student body, and with Stony Brook’s first release of Days of the Bagnold Summer, the series seems promising. Alan Inkles, the Director of Staller Center, was in charge of curating the Spring 2021 Film Series. After watching nearly 60 new films, Inkles chose 13 to make completely free and virtually accessible to Stony Brook students. To get your pass for the Spring 2021 Film Series, click here.

The first film he chose to show first in the series was Days of the Bagnold Summer, which is directed by Simon Bird. Alan Inkles says the movie “is lighthearted in the vain of some terrific Indie films like Little Miss SunshineNapoleon Dynamite, etc....I loved the idea that this was about a young person around the age of our students and something our students could relate to.”

While the movie pokes fun at Daniel, a metalhead who is supposed to go to Florida to be with his dad for the summer but has to stay home with his mom, his situation is definitely one that a lot of students can relate to. Many students find themselves stuck at home with their parents because of the pandemic when they would rather be on Stony Brook’s campus. Comparing Daniel’s experience with the quarantining of the pandemic allows a viewer who can relate to Daniel to see the positives of being “stuck” at home with one’s parents instead of seeing the negatives.

I find it interesting that the film is split up into different sections: “Early Days,” “Salad Days,” “Dog Days,” and “These Days.” In each section, Daniel and his mother Sue’s characters develop linearly, as does the plot. There are several beautiful shots in the film. For example, there is one where escalators intersect symmetrically in the middle of the screen and another shot where Daniel eats a meal in the foreground of the shot in one room and Sue eats her meal in another room in the background of the shot, suggesting the disconnect between them. Additionally, the score by Belle & Sebastian was also a very intriguing addition to the film, as I had never heard of the film but am familiar with Belle & Sebastian. Their mellifluous voices helped set up the lighthearted tone of the film and advance the humor in it. The score reminded me of the incredible music in Little Miss Sunshine, a movie soundtrack I often find myself listening to.

Days of the Bagnold Summer is not the type of movie I would typically watch, as I would not have sought it out to watch in my free time without the film series showing it. However, I am glad that I watched it, as I enjoyed the intersection of the dry humor, the quirky characters, and the cinematography. If you’re looking to watch a heartwarming offbeat comedy, I would recommend Days of the Bagnold Summer.

Personally, as a student of English and creative writing who wants to be a screenwriter and a director, I greatly appreciate that the Staller Center and Alan Inkles have made the Spring 2021 Film Series free and virtually accessible for all students. I also appreciate the fact that the films are only offered for one weekend, from Thursday to Sunday every week, as my access to the movie expiring encourages me to sit down, enjoy, and analyze a film. I look forward to watching the rest of the Spring 2021 Film Series and to writing reviews on all the films!