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Summer Issues

average rating is 3 out of 5


Alasdair MacRae


Posted on:

Oct 2, 2022

Film Reviews
Summer Issues
Directed by:
Eric Kelly
Written by:
Adam Masnyk, Rory Cardin
Vasilios Asimakos, Adam Masnyk, Matthew Berke

During the summer break from university, Sean (Vasilios Asimakos) returns to his sleepy hometown and picks up from where he left off with his job in a comics and collectibles store. He finds that his colleagues haven’t changed all that much, aside from the creeping realisation of happiness decreasing over time. Even though he appears to be on the supposed right track in life, Sean finds himself dissatisfied and struggling with anxiety. He hopes that this summer job might take some of the pressure off of him, but there is still a chance that it may exasperate the issue.


Sean’s life is relatable. As a first-generation student he was told that university was the key to a better life, but after a tough semester and now taking prescribed medication for anxiety he is beginning to feel the weight of expectations. His single-parent father tells him that he needs to grow up and take on more responsibility, ignoring the fact that he returned home to earn money rather than take up an unpaid internship. Because he is unhappy and under a considerable amount of stress he is easily overwhelmed, even when completing simple tasks at work. His boss worries that he is unstable and his friends are concerned that he has changed. But the comic store is a safe space for him, after all, there are half a dozen other employees all struggling with their own problems, and they make it through the day by gently ribbing and having petty squabbles with each other. Sometimes after work, they have a few drinks and play hockey, and life begins to seem a little more bearable. This may all sound a little trite and cliché, and it is, but sometimes that is all that is needed.


It is simply not possible to ignore the resemblance of Summer Issues to the work of Kevin Smith. It is so alike that it could be called an imitation. Like the early entries in the ViewAskewniverse, the film is mostly set in a retail store, with the characters trapped behind counters or undertaking menial tasks as they attempt Clerks-style humour, an intersection between mumblecore and caricature. Another similarity is the director Eric Kelly who, like Smith, plays a part in his film. He stars as a new colleague of Sean’s, a snarky but open-minded film nerd. There is also a shared meta-narrative ethos of finding a path that makes you happy, which relates more to Smith’s more recent work. It would be easy to shoot this down as a copycat work but there is something endearing about the idea of someone feeling inspired to make a film that continues Smith’s legacy. There is a residual good feeling that comes with a work like this, it feels as though the process of making it was just as rewarding as the finished product.


Summer Issues isn’t going to surprise anyone, but it makes up for it with well-intentioned heart. Sometimes making a film about doing what makes you happy is the best thing you can do.

About the Film Critic
Alasdair MacRae
Alasdair MacRae
Indie Feature Film
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