Summer eleven is an everyday story of sorts of four little girls experiencing life the summer before they start middle school.
For those of us who are children of the 90s it will seem a little like a modern day version of Demi Moore/Melanie Griffith’s coming of age tale “Now & Then,” but in this case there is no flip flopping as the adults reminisce about their youth.
It solely focuses on the one summer and dramatic issues such as divorce, homelessness, elitism, child abuse, and the anxieties of war.
Lizzie, Jess, and Vanessa have been friends most of their lives. Peri is just a girl that Vanessa had seen around school. On the way to an important audition Vanessa sees Peri and her family packing. She calls a greeting to her and asks her mom to see if she can come play with the rest of them.
Vanessa’s mom is a snob at first and very put out with dealing with this lower class child until she realizes the family is homeless. It makes her put her life in perspective.
Jess’ parents are separated and working on their divorce. Her mother is living with a guy who looks good but is really only nice to her. He subscribes to the “children should be only seen on holidays and never heard” mentality. Even worse he is verbally abusive.
Lizzie’s family is out of sorts since her much older brother jerry is a marine serving in Iraq. The parents are estranged and things get worse when he returns home paralyzed.
He rarely talks to anyone but Lizzie and suffers major depression made worse by alcohol. Jess seems to have a crush on him or maybe she just feels sorry for him. She draws him into things and he’s made the unofficial fifth in their group.
He claims he hates everything and that he can no longer discern one day from another. The girls force him out of his shell by the one bit of pride he has left being a big brother. He tells them not to worry about middle school or even high school. It passes to fast&after that you hardly see anyone from school.
When they force him to join them as they chase the ice cream truck even the adults are startled bringing them closer together.
Because of the girls’ friendship Jerry and Lizzie are changed forever.
It may not be an amazing or block buster production with an all star cast, (in fact Adam Arkin maybe the only known actor) but it is a wonderful heartwarming story that could happen anyone, anywhere, and at anytime.