The Summer Home opens late at night with a couple in a state of crisis. While the woman (Wonder Russell) in the backseat is covered in blood, presumably from a miscarriage, the man (Paul Vitulli) pulls over to the side of the road and runs to find help. Instead of help, he comes across an empty house, which he breaks into before collecting his mate for recovery. The film then follows the young couple as they both heal in their appropriated abode, not just from the physical trauma of that evening, but also from the emotional trauma caused by the miscarriage.
If I’m not being more precise with whether they were married, names, etc, it is because the film is very sparse in its dialogue. Almost everything is left to one’s ability to follow the couple’s body language or other nuances, and a sound effect later on in the short is really the first confirmation of exactly what happened to the woman.
As you can imagine, then, the soul of the film resides less in what we know and more about how the performances make us feel, and how that translates to inform us about events. To that end, actors Paul Vitulli and Wonder Russell are truly tasked with a challenge, however both prove to be up to it. It would be easy to go the over-the-top, grieving couple histrionic route, but the two play it more as a couple that is extremely damaged from their tragedy, but still functioning. In their time at the house, they’re even able to let their fantasy of what life would’ve been play out, allowing for a certain amount of emotional closure.
The Summer Home is a film about healing. As anyone who has gone through the tragedy of a miscarriage can attest to, the emotional wounds it can leave are not always the most overt, but they also don’t just disappear. Kris and Lindy Boustedt’s short film manages to respect the gravity of that trauma, while also allowing the audience a chance to relate and heal.