Monday, October 10, 2011

A Summer in Genoa (Genova)

Directed (and co-wrote screenplay) by Michael Winterbottom, Revolution Films, 2008. Starring Colin Firth, Catherine Keener, Perla Haney-Jardine,  Willa Holland and Hope Davis.

Genre: Drama, Romance.

Question: What haunts you? Keeps you up at night? Or wakes you up in a cold sweat? Makes you see things that aren't really there? Forces you to take paths you have no idea where they lead? What if you were 9 years-old; how would you handle all that haunts you?

I just finished another movie on Netflix instant play: A Summer in Genoa and I almost don't know how to write this review. The movie didn't have a lot to say but then again it said so much, in such a subtle way, that I don't think most will like this film. However, I enjoyed it. And, of course, I will tell you why. One word: real.

Everything in this film was real: the acting, which it didn't seem like anyone was acting actually. It was just so natural. Plus, you feel like you are right there in the story. Sure it jumps from scene to scene but you catch up with no problem because of the effortless way everyone, including the children in the film, performed. There was not one iota of "acting" that I could witness. No blocking, no overly rehearsed speeches, or forced responses. It almost gave me shivers. Another thing that I kept noticing because it is something I always look for: how it is filmed - the cinematography. As I said, you felt like you were right there and the way it was shot you could almost smell the Italian air.

The story appeared so genuine that you didn't question the one thing that couldn't be real. (No, I am not going to tell you what that is.) I mean nothing seemed too out of there; nothing really out of the ordinary, besides one small detail; and I have no idea how a producer read the script and said, 'Oh this story is so brilliantly real! It must be made!" In fact, I have a feeling the script was a very boring read so that is why this was independently produced.

A Summer in Genoa stars Colin Firth, who is a father to two daughters and he moves them to Italy after a family tragedy. Was it the best idea? Uprooting the girls and going to a foreign country for a year, would that help them process what haunts them? Well, you will just have to see for yourself.  In fact, you have to watch the youngest girl, Mary, (played by Perla Haney-Jardine), to fully understand the story. She was fantastic in this role and it was not an easy role to play eloquently but she did.

Above, the genre states it is a drama and a romance. I am not quite sure I would call it a romance though. However, drama is pretty much spot on, but mix in a little mystery, and I think that would describe this movie better. I know I am remaining vague with this review but there is little to tell about the story without giving much away. This is a movie you need to think about; it does not give you all the answers and you must be willing to contemplate what can truly haunt a person and how they process it.

My favorite thing: As I said, how real, authentic everything was portrayed.

My least favorite: It was slow, and I have watched so many movies that I kept guessing at things and ended up being wrong...okay, maybe I kinda of liked that too.

Rating: R
Length: 94 minutes

Review: 6 out of 10

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