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Summer in Genoa

3.2 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

Amazon.com

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

Special Features

Cast and crew interviews
Behind-the-scenes footage

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.)
  • 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 (85 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004KDYQXU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,603 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: DVD
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

The King's Speech

The Real Blonde
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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
After his wife dies, Joe (Colin Firth) decides a change of scenery would be good for him and his two daughters, so he accepts a teaching job at the university in Genoa. The younger daughter is racked with guilt and sees visions of her mother, the teenage daughter rebels by chasing boys, while dad enjoys his job and his students.

With a cinéma vérité style and plot, this film feels like a reality show. Dialogue is mumbled and often insignificant, emotions are muted and interactions are casual, the handheld camera is often shaky, and it all seems too ordinary to be interesting for an hour and a half. The children are often lost among the dark and winding alleyways of the city, building tension that, unfortunately, never pays off. The script (which annoyingly sometimes said they were there for a year, other times just there for the summer) goes on and on about their daily activities in a new city and that's realistic, but not, for me, necessarily entertaining.

Firth is very good as the father, but we never get to know or understand him well. Only once does he mention his wife and his feelings about her aren't clear. He seems to get over her quickly enough, embracing the city and romancing a local. Willa Holland is convincing as a self-centered and headstrong teen and is thoroughly unlikable. The youngest daughter is more sympathetic, but there was something lacking that kept me from caring about her.

All in all, I enjoyed the scenery but the story lacked emotion and clarity and was dull for me.
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