Kenton Hall’s A Dozen Summers follows twelve-year-old twins Daisy and Maisie McCormack as they embark on their day-to-day adventures. Although Hall is the director, writer, and producer for the film, A Dozen Summers seems as though it truly belongs to the McCormack sisters, played by Hero and Scarlet Hall. I think we all want to make a movie at one point or another during age twelve, and A Dozen Summers is a delightful look at this notion.
On “no ordinary day,” Daisy and Maisie encounter a narrator beginning a children’s film at their school. The two girls decide that it is they who should be making a movie, and scare off the narrator. A story unfolds as the twins guide the audience through the people in their lives and simultaneously learn about the magic of writing your own story.
I’ll start by praising Hall’s writing; the script flows well and naturally, adding to the lighthearted tone of the film. The girls’ narrations sound like they are being candidly done by the young actresses themselves, and they have the argumentative but humourous banter one would expect of twins. Hall subtly reveals each girl’s personality through the other’s musings about her – we learn from Daisy that Maisie is going insane because she got upset over spilling ketchup on her clothing – and so on.
It’s quite obvious that the film is attempting to show ordinary events and people through a twelve-year-old’s lens, and Hall has a very creative way of doing this by using skits in the sisters’ imaginations. The skits are funny and enlightening, and they perfectly capture the feelings of a twelve-year-old (from what I can recall) regarding adults, love, and family.
Most of the acting in this film is good, although some is not quite on a professional level. The most prominent actors in the film are Hero and Scarlet, who both own their characters well. Hall is quite memorable as an actor here, playing the quintessential dorky father without ever overshadowing the twins, yet piling onto the humor. Some of the younger supporting actors, such as those who play girls’ friend group and the bullies, are less than seasoned actresses. They aren’t awful by any means, but at some points they are unconvincing in their dialogue; it often feels forced. David Knight does a wonderful job as Samuel, a love interest for Daisy; he plays the geeky and awkward “boy who is a friend” (strictly different from “boyfriend” at this age) to a T. Knight fits right in alongside the Hall sisters, and is a brilliant addition to the cast.
The editing for the film is not entirely well done. At some points in the film, the music is too heavy and covers up or distracts from the dialogue. Also, there are a few awkward transitions between scenes here and there. However, these editing mishaps are minor and take away very little from Hall’s film.
Children and parents will love this film; it’s funny, the tiniest bit naughty, and above all honest. Kids can relate to the struggles of the McCormack twins and parents can relate to the struggles of Mr. McCormack, making A Dozen Summers ideal for both of these audiences. Hall’s creativity and skill in writing is impressive; it’s safe to say that we can expect more great films from him.