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‘Summering’ Trailer: James Ponsoldt’s ‘Stand by Me’ Homage Captures Last Days of Middle School

Ponsoldt chronicles the dog days of youth in the Sundance film out August 12.



Bleecker Street

The years of middle school — a swirl of hormones and insecurity — are remembered as primetime for agony by many. But there is also something beautifully wistful about those dog days of youth, on the cusp of becoming more of an adult in high school, or at least adult-adjacent.

“The Spectacular Now” and “The End of the Tour” director James Ponsoldt aims to capture in a bottle those feelings of The Last Summer of middle school before stepping onto the next phase with his film “Summering.” The film written by Ponsoldt with Benjamin Percy centers on four girls weathering harsh truths and coming of age at the end of middle school. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and next will release from Bleecker Street Films nationwide on August 12. Watch the trailer below.

The cast includes Lia Barnett, Lake Bell, Sarah Cooper, Ashley Madekwe, Madalen Mills, Megan Mullally, Eden Grace Redfield, and Sanai Victoria.

As IndieWire previously wrote, “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.”

“I have three young kids and I think a lot of it was born out of conversations I was having with all of them, but especially my daughter,” Ponsoldt told IndieWire. “As I was looking for movies to show her and talking about TV shows and books I read when I was a kid, 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.”

While the movie definitely aims for the sweet spot of “Stand by Me,” which centered on a group of male childhood friends, it tries to answer the question: So where are the girls?

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