Three Summers

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Three Summers
Three Summers poster.jpg
Directed by Ben Elton
Written byBen Elton
Produced byMichael Wrenn
Sue Taylor
Starring Robert Sheehan
Rebecca Breeds
CinematographyKatie Milwright
Edited byPeter Pritchard [1]
Invisible Republic
Taylor Media
Distributed byTransmission Films
Arclight Films
Release dates
  • 12 August 2017 (2017-08-12)(MIFF)
  • 2 November 2017 (2017-11-02)(Australia)
Running time
95 minutes

Three Summers is an Australian romantic comedy film, written and directed by Ben Elton. [2]


It was filmed and is set in Western Australia, at a fictional summer music festival called 'Westival' (based on the real-life Fairbridge Festival). [3] Over three consecutive years, two musicians (played by Rebecca Breeds and Robert Sheehan) meet and fall in love at the festival amidst a microcosm of Australian society. In addition to Breeds and Sheehan, the film has a large ensemble cast including Magda Szubanski, Michael Caton, Deborah Mailman, Jacqueline McKenzie and John Waters. [4]

The film had its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival on 12 August 2017, [5] and was released nationally in Australia on 2 November. [6]


The film's main plotline revolves around a blossoming romance between its two leads, pretentious theremin player Roland (Robert Sheehan) and down-to-earth pub band fiddler Keevy (Rebecca Breeds)

The film also has a subplot about a racist bigot (played by Michael Caton) meeting a refugee boy and a group of Indigenous dancers and is re-educated.

The film contains several running gags, revolving around feminist singer Diamond and her renditions of classic Australian songs and poems, two middle-aged couples who at first seem nice and clean but are actually swingers, a girl band trio vowing to stay together but then two of the three quit, and a stern security guard who upholds the rules.



Three Summers was filmed in the Peel region of Perth, Western Australia in 2016. [7]


Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 54% of critics reviewed the film positively, with an average score of 4.6/10, based on 13 reviews. [8]

David Stratton of The Australian wrote, "The film is worth seeing for Waters, giving a spirited portrayal of a loving father set in his ways and unable to see that times are changing, and Breeds as his lively, talented, worldly wise daughter." [9]

Conversely, Sandra Hall of the Sydney Morning Herald argued, "It's a relentlessly well-meaning film and when it's not proselytising, it's working very hard to manufacture enough laughs to make the whole mix palatable. However, the effort shows." [10]

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  1. "Three Summers 2017". Screen Australia. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  2. "Ben Elton reveals Aussie movie". 8 September 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  3. "Three Summers, Ben Elton's ode to Fairbridge, to hit Melbourne International Film Festival". Mandurah Mail. 7 July 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  4. "Ben Elton "stirring the pot" of Aussie culture as his movie Three Summers shoots in WA with Rebecca Breeds and Deb Mailman". 1 October 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  5. "'Three Summers' to form MIFF centrepiece". IF Magazine. 7 July 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  6. "Aussie stars set to attend world premiere of Ben Elton's new film". 10 August 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  7. "Three Summers". Screenwest . Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  8. "Three Summers". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  9. Stratton, David (3 November 2017). "David Stratton Reviews Three Summers". The Australian . Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  10. Hall, Sandra (30 October 2017). "Three Summers review: Ben Elton's folk festival comedy labours for laughs". Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 27 February 2020.