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Summer in Genoa (2008)

Colin Firth , Catherine Keener , Michael Winterbottom  |  R |  DVD
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Colin Firth, Catherine Keener, Hope Davis, Willa Holland
  • Directors: Michael Winterbottom
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Entertainment One
  • DVD Release Date: April 12, 2011
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,228 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

Cast and crew interviews
Behind-the-scenes footage

Editorial Reviews

An American family moves to Italy to start over in Michael Winterbottom's A Summer in Genoa. The film has hardly begun when Marianne (Hope Davis) dies in a car crash, leaving behind her academic husband, Joe (Colin Firth, very good), and their daughters, Kelly (The O.C.'s Willa Holland) and Mary (Dark Water's Perla Haney-Jardine). Five months later, British-born Joe exchanges modern Chicago for medieval Genoa, where Harvard classmate Barbara (Catherine Keener) shows the trio around the city. While Joe teaches, the girls take piano lessons, but other things remain much the same. Mary, who feels responsible for the accident, continues to receive visitations from her mother's ghost, and Kelly sneaks out to canoodle with a Vespa-riding Lothario. As the weeks pass, the sisters grow further apart, not least because Kelly also blames her younger sister. Winterbottom contrasts Kelly's romance with a possible relationship between Joe and Barbara, except he expresses greater interest in an attractive student with a more direct approach. Not counting the opening and closing scenes, however, both of which involve automobiles, the director concentrates on the rhythms of life for three people grieving in their own way, rather than using a series of incidents to build to a cathartic conclusion, making Summer one of his more subtle, if less eventful efforts. The extra feature offers behind-the-scenes footage and a 21-minute featurette, in which the filmmaker says he took inspiration from Nicolas Roeg's chilling Don't Look Now, in which a couple moves to Venice to mourn a loss. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

Two-time Oscar® nominee Colin Firth turns in a riveting performance as a widower desperately trying to hold his family together after tragedy threatens to tear them apart. Searching for a fresh start, Joe (Firth) moves with his two daughters from Chicago to the Italian town of Genoa. Seduced by the ancient city, each find themselves lost in an alluring paradise where souls stir and spirits linger.

Bonus Features:
Cast/Crew Interviews, Behind-the-Scenes Footage.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
194 of 203 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Film February 27, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This film is a truly beautiful, touching, and real piece of art. It is the most real depiction of life ever filmed. The film follows the lives of Joe (Colin Firth) and his daughters as they deal with the death his wife. Spending a year in Italy, the family is shown continuing their day to day lives as each character evolves and deals with their loss. One daughter becomes independent and rebellious while the other is lovingly haunted by the ghost of her mother. Joe does all that he can to just get through every day and give his daughters what they need. It is beautiful and touching. If you're looking for a lot of plot or action then this film is probably not for you. But if you want to be moved by inspired acting and the touching reality of life then you will not be disappointed.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Haunting Loss, Grieving Family April 16, 2011
3.5 stars

Colin Firth can act his way out of a paper bag. Kathleen Keener, one of those actresses that gives any film a feeling of reality is superb in this film. That said, this could be one of the more symbolic films I have seen. It is an OK film, but not a great one. Heavy on drama and darkness and grief.

A family has lost their mother in a car accident. The youngest daughter thinks she is to blame for the accident. The older daughter feels her life is out of control and not what she wants. Dad, is a college professor. He has a contact in Genova, an old college friend, who tells him of a job. Italy may just be the place to chase their demons away. The city is indeed beautiful, and we see quite a lot of it. the back streets and channels as the girls walk their way to piano lessons each day. Life moves on slowly, the older daughter is exploring her sexuality and acting out. The younger child is left to deal with the daily life. The city and the back alleys and the maze of streets are a metaphor for the inner turmoil of each of the members of the family. It is a beautiful film, a quiet film that does not say much but brings to the surface the emotions that surround the family. These emotions are transported to the audience, and we are in a sense filled with anxiety waiting for the next move. The film was not what I expected, and it is not a great film, but well worth viewing.

Recommended. prisrob 04-16-11

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missed the mark March 19, 2012
After his wife's sudden death, a university professor moves to Genoa for a year with his two daughters. The movie deals with their relationships and how each family member deals with the loss.

What bothered me most was the apparent lack of parental control. The two daughters seem to act without regard for others or consequences. For example, would a bright, pre-adolescent child really be reckless enough to cover both her mother's eyes while driving on an icy road? Why was the father's response so "subdued" when his teenage daughter disregards his curfew on going out with unknown Italian boys shortly after arriving in Genoa? Instead, he allows her to treat him disrespectfully and party every night and day, even when she fails to be there for her younger sister. Also, younger daughter, Mary, seems to think she can take off at any time without any consequence to follow her dead mother's ghost, e.g. leaving the church and worrying the entire family for hours; later she causes a traffic accident by running across a busy street - again without regard for others. These actions may be examples of the girls acting out but then what lies underneath needs to be dealt with, not ignored or patted with "There, there. It's OK." The budding romantic relationship between the father and one of his students seems out of place. Yes, the director may want to show the father getting on with his life but where does this romance lead? In the film - no where.

These issues are difficult to address but instead of delving into them, the director merely skims the surface - creating a sketch rather than a painting. Most of the cinematography was done with hand-held camera and creates greater intimacy. However, sometimes the shaky pictures were too much, e.g. when Joe is desperately looking for Mary in the hillside.

Overall, beautiful location with fine actors Colin Firth and Catherine Keener but missed the mark.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Have you ever done something so terrible that it ruined your life? After a game in the car causes an accident and the death of her mother (Davis), Mary must live with the results. Her and her sister along with thier father (Firth) travel to Italy for a year in hopes that the change of scenery will help the grieving process. Each girl handles the life change differently. Based on the preview, I was worried about watching this because it looked so depressing. The first five minutes is very hard to watch, and sporadically there are tough parts, but this is not as bad as I was expecting. The acting was great, and the story is very real, but I just couldn't get into it. It was a little slow moving and seemed to go nowhere. I can't give it a bad grade because it wasn't a bad movie, just a little slow. Not really my kind of show. I know there will be many people who really like it though. I give it a C+.

Would I watch again? - I don't think I will, not one to watch over and over.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth 10 Stars
A wonderful movie about loss and finding life worth living again.
Published 7 days ago by Geradine Dinardo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you
Published 1 month ago by toni dettling
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging
Good acting, worthy plot, and, well, Colin. Could have done without making the kid have sex and show so much of her bod.
Published 3 months ago by Remi A. Enobakhare
4.0 out of 5 stars Always enjoy Colin Firth.
His films are good. I started by watching Jane Austen's film Pride. Loved King's Speech also, though very different type of film.
Published 3 months ago by Zella Gundy
3.0 out of 5 stars Depressing, but good story
Got is for the scenery, which is Good. The story is long drawn out and frankly, boring. It may mean more to some than others however. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mangavideo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie Set in Italy
Loved this movie, but who wouldn't since it stars Colin Firth! The plot is slightly depressing; however, the movie has some beautiful scenes of Italy.
Published 4 months ago by Alexa C.
3.0 out of 5 stars Ayoung father and his chilkdren going to holiday
I was not impressed as many have been, beach scenes, some beautiful scenery, but the story very common and nothing special.
Published 4 months ago by Lois Metlika
4.0 out of 5 stars Heart-wrenching
Unfinished and unsure. Unwilling to give us a neat ending. I liked that most about it. So many balls remained up in the air.
Published 4 months ago by Dannielle A.
3.0 out of 5 stars Sweet and family oriented
Very sweet, but somewhat predictable flick. I like the fact that the ending wasn't too predictable, it left me with a satisfied feeling, that a bite of life movie should.
Published 7 months ago by sarah
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Colin Firth's finest performance
undeveloped story line; too many unclear references that were unresolved; co-star did good job as did the younger daughter. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Steve Zientek
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