Indian Summer


Indian Summer (1993)


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Mike Binder wrote and directed this reunion story in The Big Chill vein about of group of ex-campers, now in their twenties, who return to their old summer camp to get together again. Alan Arkin plays Uncle Lou, the old camp counselor and resident sage at Canadian summer camp Tamakwa. Leading a group of contemporary youngsters wearing Walkmans on their heads to glory in the beauty of a majestic moose in the Canadian Northwoods, he realizes that the children of today are not the way children were in ancient times before 1993, so he decides to close up shop and shut down Camp Tamkwa for good. But before he does he invites a group of campers from the camp's golden age -- men and women now in their twenties -- an assortment of veteran campers who return to reflect on the past and sort out their troubles. The campers include Beth (Diane Lane), a woman who is adjusting to her husband's accidental death; Jennifer (Elizabeth Perkins), a single woman looking forward to renewing her relationship with fellow camper Matthew (Vincent Spano); Kelly (Julie Warner), Matthew's wife, feeling insecure because she knows Matthew is unhappy in the marriage; and Jamie (Matt Craven), a swinging bachelor with an eye for younger women. Rounding out the pack is Jack (Bill Paxton), who as a boy was kicked out of the camp for a mysterious reason. When he shows up at the camp, the rest of the campers are stunned.

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Critic Reviews for Indian Summer

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (5)

Mike Binder places his well-acted comedy in the familiar turf of other "reunion" films (Return of Secaucus Seven, Big Chill), adding one element to the genre: Instead of indoor weekend, the regrouping is set in a beloved camp of the 1972 summer

Dec 18, 2006 | Rating: C
Top Critic

If you like to go to weddings of humdrum people you don't know, you won't want to miss Indian Summer.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2/5

Just too pat, too predictable and too generic.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

A mish-mash of mediocre formulas.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

This is a story more interested in tone and mood than in big plot points.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Even if one can accept this dubious premise, there's another problem. Mike Binder's tale of thirtysomething yuppies in beautiful Ontario sometimes moves at the speed of a particularly phlegmatic moose.

Jun 6, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Indian Summer


I love movies about summer camp. I don't know what it is, but when I was a kid, I was too homesick and terrified to actually enjoy the experience of summer camp. Now, looking back, or watching movies like Indian Summer, or even Meatballs and Little Darlings, I realize how special the experience of summer camp can be for kids with the courage and maturity to appreciate it. What is great about Indian Summer is, these 30-somethings get to return to their beloved camp as adults for one final week of camp before the camp closes for good. As the old saying goes, "youth is wasted on the young," and this movie captures that spirit by allowing these former campers one more week to relive some of the best times of their lives. I don't have fond memories of my one summer at camp, perhaps I was too young or immature to relax and enjoy it. I just wanted to survive and get home. Watching this movie makes me want to go to camp now, at age 42. In fact, my girlfriend and I are taking the journey to the very lake where this movie was filmed - Tea Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, in about 2 weeks. I can't wait. The location Director, Mike Binder picked to relive his real-life childhood camp experience is Camp Tamakwa, on Tea Lake in Algonquin Park. It's in the heart of Canada's wild, natural, untouched National Park and a perfect place to make a film like this. The casting is decent, although I could do without Kevin Pollak. The acting is fine. The only real problem with this movie, and it's a pretty big problem, is that it feels like one, long, inside joke where everyone is laughing hysterically at each of dozens of memories and most of them feel forced or not entirely believable. The actors are doing their best to express nostalgia, but it only works sometimes. An example of where it works much better is The Big Chill. We learn more about the characters and their respective relationships in that film than we do in this one. This is still a fun movie, more so for those, like me, who love the idea of camp and long for a second chance to go back and experience it. It's why we go camping in the woods as adults and why so many people buy motorhomes and journey into the woods. We all want to be campers again. And, as adults, we are better able to appreciate how special the experience is. And how lucky was Matt Craven? He got to play Hardware in Meatballs in 1979 and then Jamie Ross, 14 years later, in this film AND is engaged to gorgeous Kimberly "Father of the Bride" Williams. Lucky. I will add an addendum to this review next month after we visit the lake where this movie was filmed, and perhaps even visit the actual camp Tamakwa. I just hope it lives up to my expectations. My trip is, after all, inspired in part by this film! The movie was mostly fun for Mike Binder and childhood friend Sam Raimi, who plays Stick, as they revisit their childhood camp Mike attended for 10 straight summers. No wonder he wanted to make this movie! However, it's just another reason why it feels like such an inside joke - an experience we all wish we could have been in on, but most of us weren't.

Mark Harper
Mark Harper

Super Reviewer


Nice feel good flick even though the ending is pretty much bs

Spencer Macklin
Spencer Macklin

Super Reviewer

This movie brings back memories of camp! Anyone who hasn't been to camp can never completely appreciate this movie. It's all about the bonds you make that last a lifetime, the memories you can't forget, the growing that takes place there, and how you mark your life by the summers at camp. The seven friends want to save this camp because it was a huge part of their childhood. The characters are real: a couple struggling with martial problems, a woman whose husband died, a man dealing with regret. There are so many storylines going on at once but it adds depth and life to the movie.

Dannielle Albert
Dannielle Albert

Super Reviewer

The Big Chill goes to summer camp in this thoroughly enjoyable trip down memory lane. A group of 30somethings return to their childhood summer camp, only to find that it is about to be closed down. For the next week, they rekindle old romances, remember the lazy days of summer, and try to make amends for past mistakes. The movie features a solid ensemble cast that includes Alan Arkin, Bill Paxton, Diane Lane, Kevin Pollack, and my ultimate Hollywood crush, Kimberly Williams. Look for Spider-Man director Sam Raimi in a small part as the camps maintenance man. Beautiful cinematography makes you wish you had gone to this very camp. It's funny, sentimental, dramatic, and touching. Definately a feel good movie, and a nice one to watch on a lazy day, or when the weather is bad outside. One note to anyone looking to buy the DVD (if you can still find it), the packaging says it is a full screen presentation...not true. The movie is presented in the widescreen format, so you miss nothing!

RJ MacReady
RJ MacReady

Super Reviewer

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