A man moves his two daughters to Italy after their mother dies in a car accident, in order to revitalize their lives. Genova changes all three of them as the youngest daughter starts to see the ghost of her mother, while the older one discovers her sexuality.
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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 withtheir father (Firth) travel to Italy for a year in hopes that thechange of scenery will help the grieving process. Each girl handles thelife change differently. Based on the preview, I was worried aboutwatching this because it looked so depressing. The first five minutesis very hard to watch, and sporadically there are tough parts, but thisis not as bad as I was expecting. The acting was great, and the storyis very real, but I just couldn't get into it. It was a little slowmoving and seemed to go nowhere. I can't give it a bad grade because itwasn't a bad movie, just a little slow. Not really my kind of show. Iknow there will be many people who really like it though. I give it aC+.Would I watch again? - I don't think I will, not one to watch over andover.
Oikogeneiako drama se forma psyhologikoy thriler poy soy dialyei to manikioyr, me stoiheia metafysikoy na dieyrynoyn to lyrismo toy
After a car-crash results in a death, the widower and his two daughtersmove to the city of Genova in Italy to escape the sorrow that hauntstheir life. As each of them comes to terms with the loss and the newbeginning in their own way, the director of the movie takes a turn toshow us how the three-way relationship adjusts rather thanconcentrating on each character's development. The younger daughter'snight-time crying becomes something for the father to handle. The newsense of rebellious freedom in the elder daughter is more seen from theyounger sister and her dad's POVs. But without getting too dramatic orphilosophical, or without even getting too close to the characters, themovie remains an outside view of the small family in somewhat distant,documenting way.My Rating --> 3 of 5
This is a much more intimately reflective drama than Winterbottom usually supplies, and it tells us a lot about loss in a dozen small ways. The cast, particularly the children, do the director proud.
This review is from: Summer in Genoa (DVD) Genoa is the backdrop for this beautiful, quiet film of family members dealing with the loss of a mother. The two daughters react in radically different ways to their tragedy, while the father attempts to hold things together. There is an undercurrent of darkness and danger as the older daughter finds new friends and experiences and the younger one grieves through visions of her mother. Slow, gentle unfolding of a family trying to find its way.
This movie was way to slow for me.I had to watch it twice to get through it.I can't blame the acting - I feel all of the cast did a good job withwhat they had. The cinematography was impressive - all the narrow, tallalley shots made me feel like I was there. The story to me was justlacking.I think I understand the message they were trying to get across - afamily coming to terms with the accidental death of their mother/wife -a realistic story. But this family was not really much more interestingthan my next door neighbor. It was just too common place.I spent the movie waiting for something to happen - and it never did.Even the inclusion of the supernatural twist of the mother's ghostseemed not to add to the story at all.The basics of a story that you expect to find in a movie were missing.There was no rising action, every part of the movie was just anotherday. Some conflict between the characters did occur but was built up soslowly and it hadn't really reached a high enough point by the time theclimax happened.When the climax did happened I was wondering "was that it?". It wassomewhat more exciting than the rest of the movie but a far cry fromwhat a climax should be.The resolution seemed totally missing to me. I suppose we can assumethat after the bland climax some of the conflict between the characterswas resolved but I really don't think the incident was major enough tohave caused that much of an effect on the characters past a day or two.Or perhaps we aren't supposed to assume anything was really resolvedand that we just saw a short period of time of this very dull familyand it will continue on the same once we're finished watching.Overall, not a terrible movie but one they could have done much morewith.
After reading a number reviews, I will give my own spin.This is not a Hollywood tear jerking film using extreme scenes to tug at your emotions, but a very subtle and closer to a normal family's behavior when presented with a tragedy. Having said this, I think there are times in the movie when one feels a lack of direction and some frustration to the meandering scenes that appear to repeat themselves without any kind of direction or intent. But then again it does mimic often how one tries to deal with a tragedy in one's own life.The story centers around a father and his two girls in Genoa for the summer to find closure after the tragic death of their mother.Instead of coming closer to each other, like the dark alleyways in Genoa, they go on separate paths.Once in Genoa, the father is lost between his feeling for one woman who is not as sexy, but more down to earth and responsible to the needs of his daughters and another woman who is carefree and liberating, but not interested in the family trappings. This only makes him more isolated to how he really feels as he is not yet ready for starting a relationship with either.The oldest daughter despite coming off as a superficial selfish sex crazed brat, seems trapped between her desire to feel needed by those outside of her family, but finding only teenage boys who are just as self-centered as herself. Hey she is an American teenager coming of age in Genoa with a confused father in denial and a little sister wracked with guilt for her mother's death. You'd look for emotional comfort elsewhere too!This leads to the youngest daughter, believing that she is the cause of her mother's death to the extent that she imagines her mother still alive and talking to her and touching her. It is like a subconscious hope that her mom will come back to still guide her in life (and soothe the guilt away), but reality just deepens her pain to the point of her behaving suicidal without consciously knowing it (not everyone will see this).In the end, let us just say they come to realize (by narrowly missing another family tragedy) that only by caring and comforting each other can they heal and enjoy life again.While I like the concept, I do wish the movie was a little more focused and involving, otherwise the same result could have been achieved as a short film instead.
Colin Firth has made a pretty good career of losing his spouse in themovies. Perhaps no other actor does damp eyed resignation better. Thistime he's a college professor whose wife dies in a tragic accidentleaving him with two daughters, one crippled by the knowledge that shecaused the accident. The older one seems to be auditioning for the leadrole in the remake of Lolita. Turns out the dead wife is the lucky oneas she only has to appear as a ghost in a couple of more scenes in thispointless, incomprehensible, nihilistic, and uttering boring movie. Mom's also pretty angry about the funeral which looks more like yourtypical faculty party. No one seems very sad and the kids are alloutside smoking pot. The rest of the movie consists of wistful sighs, acommercial for RyanAir, furtive sidelong glances, scooter ridesaccompanied by bad Euro Trash music and lots of cigarettes. Does theBritish Lottery not have better things to do with their money? Arethere no war veterans who need prosthetic limbs?
The theme of loss was potentially interesting as it is something we can all relate to, but the presentation was incredibly boring. It was very repetitive, slow, and boring. The Blair Witch shaky cam shots were also horrible. To give credit where credit is due, Firth did his usual stellar job, but he had so little to work with. His character was also a little pathetic, so there wasn't much to like. I found myself saying over and over, "Is this over yet?" When the credits finally rolled, I was relieved to see it end but disappointed that I invested so much time. The finale was very unsatisfying.
I worked with Michael Winterbottom once on The Claim and did not likehis directing style but I was crew, not talent so he had no impact onmy job. However, I have watched a few of his films since then, and hisstyle did not get any better from the other side of the lens. This filmwas very slow paced and I did not feel drawn into the story by thestory , if you get my drift. The talent did a fine job with the scriptbut it was a lacklustre script and a boring storyline. The film wascalled A Summer In Genoa when it came out on rental and was rented asit had Colin Firth in it, always a fine actor and well worth watching.I will careful check future films for Winterbottoms name and avoid themat all cost.
I was taken by the melancholy and the beauty of the film and if thiswasn't enough, Colin Firth's performance! His best since "ApartmentZero" and that is saying something. Not a single false move in a filmthat could very easily become a simple tearjerker. Colin as a dad whotakes care of his young daughters after the tragic death of his wife issimply extraordinary. The humanity of his character, flaws and all, isimmediately recognisable. The film is filled with an emotional form ofsuspense that makes the experience utterly unnerving at times. Genova,the city, is photographed with real gusto. The narrow "vicoli" create asense of dislocation that underlines in the most poetic way the newroads that Colin and his daughters are, not merely finding, but forgingfor themselves. A delightful surprise.
[Winterbottom] can't quite decide which well-trodden path to walk, either of domestic drama or of supernatural riddle, which should have been a sign that he hasn't really committed to this project.
As solid as you'd look for from Winterbottom and this cast, but the touches of supernatural thriller in an otherwise rather conventional coming-to-terms-with-bereavement drama aren't entirely convincing.
Had I been in some kind of stupor when I watched this film I couldeasily have been forgiven for thinking I had been invited to Mr.Winterbottom's home to watch his family holiday film while on holidayin Genova. Had this been the case I would have been looking for a catto stroke withing the first fifteen minutes. Well..that's what Inormally do when I am subjected to total boredom. I would have thensipped the remains of my drink and made a polite exit.This film is mind numbingly boring. Straight away you see a flight fromChicago to Genova via RyanAir. Since when did RyanAir fly from Chicago?Oops sponsorship! As for the film proper. Not much to say really. Shoton a cheap camera with cheap sound it centres around beach shots,shopping shots, lots and lots of alleyway shots. numerous shots ofpeople on scooters, a car collision which looked like it had been doneby retired stunt men, a few shots about candles being lit and nicecuddly family scenes. Add a little Italian into the stew and that's it.Ignore any pretencion about sub-plots. There aren't any. There is nodrama. It's a film that goes nowhere because it doesn't have a startingpoint. It could have been made by a group of students on their firstyear film course.Next time I watch a film about Italy or based around Italy I shall makesure it has the stamp of an Italian director. Mr. Winterbottom has nowentered my 'Must Avoid' list.Truly awful. Minus 10Now where's my cat?
A film that's ambiguous, involving and very intelligent indeed.
Michael Winterbottom is the king of the low budget art house film, buthere he goes too far. Genoa is clearly a cheap European city in whichto film and it is used as the main backdrop as if the fourth actoralong with dad (Colin Firth) and his two daughters. Narrow Medievalstreets and alleys, ancient churches and some modest beaches have alevel of interest, but too much is drab like the dark apartment wherethey stay. Of course, as with Winterbottom you get some fabulous depthof emotion between the cast, but the unexceptional settings starts towear and your attention wanders, rather like the young daughters in thefilm....
With a stronger third act and less spiritual flounce this could have been something really special, but as it stands its merely a solid entry in the versatile writer/director's CV that will no doubt be eclipsed by whatever he chooses to do next.
I suspect the director was aiming for a sun-blessed version of Don't Look Now, but his ghost story conjures neither suspense nor intrigue.
There's a powerful emotional undertone to this film that overcomes its slightly thin structure and give us plenty to chew on, especially if we've experienced some sort of personal tragedy.
Genova opens up with a stark and confronting series of images;contrasted against the seemingly whimsy and light-hearted cold-opening,there comes a shocking and hard-hitting turn of events that serves asthe catalyst for the ninety minutes that follow. Stricken by a tragedyto which a mother's two daughters are direct witness to, the tale ofGenova is a harrowing but sincere and tangible piece. This somewhatbittersweet mixture of hope disquieted by despair and a sense of chaosand danger are prevalent to the entirety of Genova's story; it's anuplifting document infused with genuine pathos and touching degrees ofcatharsis that implement both character and themes of family, bonds andloss to establish what is for the most part a very coherent and sobercharacter analysis.In juxtaposition to the darker, more morbid themes inherent to thescreenplay however is also a firm sense of hope and romanticism. Setagainst the backdrop of the beautiful city of Genoa in Italy, daughtersMary (Perla Haney-Jardine) and Kelly (Willa Holland) along with theirwidower father Joe (Colin Firth) set about making a new start away fromthe despair from their collective past. This of course allows botholder sister Kelly and Joe to seek out relationships that serve as away to lightly distract from the misfortune involving their mother andwife, and in turn allows Genova to shed a lighter, more hopeful melody.Yet such moments are certainly not without their stark reminders as towhat these characters are inevitably running from. Within the characterof Mary who is the younger of the sisters lies the most unsettling andreaffirming reminder of the accident. Unable to move on quite asreadily as her father and sister, Mary begins seeing visions of hermother which usually results in her screaming in the middle of thenight when her "ghost"Âor memoryÂdisappears.This sense of claustrophobia is further explored through a variety ofsequences, some of which are undoubtedly overdone and overexposedthroughout the ninety minute runtimeÂyet they nevertheless serve animportant purpose. Given that the story of Genova is largely characterbased, there is always cause for concern that the heavy-handed materialand themes inherent to such analysis will lead to a slow-movingnarrative serving only to alienate viewers. This is where directorMichael Winterbottom's undertones of danger and ominous uncertaintyhelps create a much more flowing and engaging piece. While it could beargued that Winterbottom perhaps spoils the integrity of his film byresorting to such moments on more than a few occasions in what is arelatively short film; the vast majority works well with the moreromanticised, sombre and restrained aspects of the feature to reflectthe melancholic nature of the script.What serves as the central component to Genova's story however, isundoubtedly its greatest attribute. Through the characters of Mary,Kelly, Joe and Joe's old-flame Barbara (Catherine Keener), key themesof family, strength through loss, and moving on after death can trulyshine. Particularly engaging here is the combination of Firth withyoung actress Perla Haney-Jardine who shares a compelling and alwaystangible relationship as father and daughter that feels natural andsweet. Firth, who has up until now proved himself one of this country'sfinest and most mature of thespians, again delivers a performance thatestablishes a fine balance between remaining natural and yet alwaysbursting with screen-presence and charisma. The same of course can besaid with the remainder of the cast, with particular attention toHaney-Jardine who shows that even actors of her age group can succeedin delivering intelligent and emotionally resonant characters.Performances aside however, Genova nevertheless succeeds because of thecharacters it offers those actors which in the end decide whether themovie will live or die in the eyes of audiences. Winterbottom herecrafts an unassuming and disquieted feature that will no doubt fail tograsp the attention of some because of its slow-moving, almostnon-existent plotÂbut for fans of intricate but not overly sentimentalcharacter drama, the majority of Genova will do little wrong. If thereis one failing to the production it would be that despite the alreadyshort runtime, the feature as a whole feels too much for what shouldnaturally be a much shorter and more concise story. Nevertheless, withstrong compelling characters and a tale that always engages throughthose characters, Genova is a pleasant and touching journey ofdiscovery that always feel human and genuinely invested in detailingone of the hardest parts of life through death itself.- A review by Jamie Robert Ward (http://www.invocus.net)