Toby & Tom's Missing Link
When Toby Wyler (Sean Gerlis) contracted meningitis he lost his hearing and ever since he has refused to speak as he can't hear what he says. On top of that he is struggling to accept that his mother, Jeannie (Tess Harper - Tender Mercies), has remarried and doesn't get on with his stepfather, Tom (James Farentino - Miles from Nowhere). But Toby and his sister, Jill (Bridgette Andersen), have a secret as they have befriended an orangutan which they found one day in their tree house and who is able to talk through sign language. What they don't know is that the orangutan has been trained by Dr. Dolly McKeever (Louise Fletcher - The Karen Carpenter Story) and went missing following a road accident involving the vehicle they were travelling in. Trouble is that neither Jeannie nor Tom believe Toby and Jill when they say they have an orangutan in the treehouse.
One of my favourite memories of growing up was watching the family movies which would be shown on TV during summer holidays, the sort where children would sneak food out from the kitchen, have adventures in the fields and of course end up having to save the day as the movie came to an end. Surprisingly I never watched "A Summer to Remember" as a child but I know that I would have loved it if I had watched it back in 1985 because I loved it when I got to watch it recently with the whole set up of Toby and Jill befriending an orangutan and keeping it a secret from their parents, a little reminiscent of "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial".
The thing about "A Summer to Remember" is that what it delivers is nothing really new as we have the fun and adventure as Toby and Jill become close to the orangutan. We also have some trouble not only with other kids who bully Toby because he doesn't speak but also with a nasty circus owner, wonderfully played by Burt Young, who you can almost see the dollar signs in his eyes when he come in to possession of this signing orangutan. And of course whilst Toby is making life difficult for Tom you know both characters will go on a bit of a journey as the story evolves and will bond by the time the credits start to roll. Don't worry there is other stuff which goes on in "A Summer to Remember" with plenty to make you smile and feel more than a little nostalgic.
What this all boils down to is that "A Summer to Remember" is one of those touching family movies which were made back in the 80s which despite the look and technology still are full of charm today. Yes some of the storyline is far fetched, whilst some of the effects are pretty obvious but the strength of "A Summer to Remember" is the story and the characters which is wonderful.