Crystal blue waters on which sailboats glide; cooling, hushed evenings for night drives; creaking floorboards of vacation retreats: Summer '04 uses familiar elements from seasonal coming-of-age and romance films and twists them to sinister, damaging effect. Director Stefan Krohmer and screenwriter Daniel Nocke, both veterans of German TV and collaborators on Krohmer's 2003 debut, They've Got Knut, set out on a seemingly standard course when adolescent Nils (Lucas Kotaranin) takes along younger girlfriend Livia (Svea Lohde) on a trip with his parents, Andre (Peter Davor) and Mirjam (Martina Gedeck), to the Baltic coast, where the family owns a summer house.
Andre and Mirjam possess a liberal attitude when it comes to their son's burgeoning sexuality and practically encourage his summer love, but tension arrives in the form of Bill (Robert Seeliger), the kind of rugged, laconic mid-thirties man for whom twelve-year-old girls develop immediate crushes. Nils doesn't mind Bill's intrusion, but as Livia starts spending more time with him Mirjam feels the need to voice concern. Mirjam—vivacious, voluptuous, and probably a step faster than her kind but bland husband, for whom she still has a fresh attraction—also immediately takes to Bill. Click here to read the rest of Michael Joshua Rowin's review of Summer '04.