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Summering Ending Explained

The ending of Summering shows the girls accepting the end of their childhood and the start of a new phase in their lives. They realize their friendship will change but remain hopeful.

Summering, directed by James Ponsoldt, captures the last days of summer for four young girls. As they prepare to start middle school, they face a series of events that force them to confront the realities of growing up. The film’s ending is both poignant and hopeful, reflecting the bittersweet nature of this transitional period.

Plot Overview

The story begins with Daisy, Dina, Mari, and Lola enjoying their final week of summer. They explore their neighborhood, engage in imaginative play, and visit their secret hideaway, Terabithia. This name, borrowed from the novel Bridge to Terabithia, symbolizes their desire to escape the realities of growing up (The New York Times).

Their carefree days take a dark turn when they discover a dead body near their hideaway. This discovery sets off a chain of events that force the girls to confront life, death, and the inevitable changes that come with growing up. The body symbolizes the end of their childhood innocence and the beginning of a more intricate understanding of the world.

The Discovery

Finding the dead body is a pivotal moment in the film. It forces the girls to face the harsh realities of life and death. Initially, they react with fear and curiosity. As the story progresses, they begin to grapple with the deeper implications of mortality. The body becomes a symbol of the end of their childhood and the start of a new, more complicated phase of life.

The ghost of the dead man follows the girls throughout the film, adding a layer of supernatural intrigue. This ghostly presence represents their fears and uncertainties as they transition into adolescence. It is not just a literal figure but also a metaphor for their anxieties and the unknown future (The Wrap).

The Séance

One of the film’s climactic scenes involves the girls holding a séance to communicate with the dead man. This moment is both eerie and poignant. It highlights their struggle to make sense of the death they have encountered. The séance symbolizes their attempt to bridge the gap between their childhood fantasies and the harsh realities of the adult world. It underscores the film’s theme of the blurred lines between imagination and reality.

The Mothers’ Parallel Drama

A parallel narrative involves the girls’ mothers, who become increasingly worried when they lose contact with their daughters. This subplot adds another layer to the story. It emphasizes the protective instincts of the parents and their fears about their children’s safety. The mothers’ panic serves as a counterpoint to the girls’ adventurous spirit. It highlights the generational differences in dealing with fear and uncertainty (The New York Times).

The Final Realization

The film concludes with the girls coming to terms with the end of their summer and the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. They realize that their friendship, while sturdy, will inevitably change as they grow older. This realization is both heartbreaking and hopeful. It captures the essence of the film’s exploration of the fleeting nature of childhood.

Themes and Symbolism

Nostalgia and Transition

Summering is steeped in nostalgia. It captures the idyllic moments of childhood while acknowledging the inevitable transition to adolescence. The film’s sun-dappled cinematography and leisurely-motion sequences evoke a sense of timelessness. The use of the name Terabithia and the girls’ imaginative play further emphasize the theme of holding onto childhood innocence in the face of growing up (The Wrap).

Death and Innocence

The discovery of the dead body serves as a stark reminder of mortality and the loss of innocence. The girls’ initial reaction to the body is one of fear and curiosity. As the film progresses, they begin to grapple with the deeper implications of death. The ghostly presence of the dead man and the séance scene highlight their struggle to understand and accept the concept of mortality.

Friendship and Change

At its core, Summering is a film about friendship and the changes that come with growing up. The girls’ bond is tested by the events of the summer, but it ultimately remains sturdy. The film’s ending, with the girls acknowledging that their friendship will evolve, is a poignant reminder that change is a natural part of life. The narrative suggests that while childhood may end, the memories and connections formed during that time will always remain.

Critical Reception

Summering has received mixed reviews from critics. Some have praised the film for its nostalgic portrayal of childhood and its exploration of intricate themes. Others have criticized it for its leisurely pace and lack of resolution. The film’s dreamy cinematography and the performances of the young actors have been widely appreciated. However, the narrative’s amgiganticuity has left some viewers wanting more (The New York Times; The Wrap).


Summering captures the fleeting nature of childhood and the bittersweet transition to adolescence. Its ending, marked by the girls’ realization of the changes ahead, is both poignant and hopeful. The film’s exploration of themes such as death, innocence, and friendship, combined with its nostalgic cinematography, makes it a reflective and thought-provoking piece. While it may not fully satisfy in terms of plot resolution, Summering succeeds in evoking the universal experience of growing up and the inevitable changes that come with it.


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