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The Diary of Summer tells the story of a mischievous young boy named Xiaoping, consistently getting himself into trouble at school. From early in the film, Xiaoping is put at odds with Xiaohu, a petite, meticulously hard-working pupil and monitor of their class. They are opposites in nearly every way.

As the story unfolds Xiaopang is caught lying on a homework assignment, and his teacher devises a unique punishment ordering him to complete ten good deeds over the summer holiday. He must complete the task under Xiaohu’s watchful eye, and record them in a diary.

Oddball comedic pairings are not a unique concept, however The Diary of Summer ‘s success is in the strength of it’s characters. This is the first feature-length film for director, Chen Jing who taught middle school English for seven years in addition to making short films geared towards kids. She depicts a realistic relationship between her two young leads in addition to an earnest look at single parenting and cross-generational relationships. The overall message is one of kindness, but this is also a funny film, with quite a few laugh-out-loud moments.

Is The Diary of Summer essential TIFF Kids viewing?

The Diary of Summer is a genuinely good film, but its sophisticated tone may polarize a younger audience; however if we learn anything from young Xiaopang, it’s that kids can be unpredictable, and that’s not always a bad thing. I think that any adult looking for a good screening at TIFF Kids will thoroughly enjoy this film.

The Diary of Summer screening times

The Diary of Summer trailer

The Diary of Summer Production Gallery