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Summer in February (2014)

tomatometer

35

Average Rating: 4.7/10
Reviews Counted: 37
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 24

It boasts beautiful scenery, but in every other respect, Summer in February is a painfully bland period drama.

0

Average Rating: 4/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 5

It boasts beautiful scenery, but in every other respect, Summer in February is a painfully bland period drama.

audience

30

liked it
Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 1,269

My Rating

Movie Info

A sweeping romance set at a bohemian artist colony on the picturesque coasts of pre-war England, SUMMER IN FEBRUARY is based on the true story of painter Sir Alfred Munnings (Dominic Cooper, MAMMA MIA!, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN) and his blue-blood best friend Gilbert (Dan Stevens, "Downton Abbey"). Born into a working-class family, Munnings rises to become one of the premiere British artists of his time, winning the affection of aristocratic beauty Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning, SLEEPING

Aug 12, 2014

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All Critics (37) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (24)

Compared with the tepid contretemps of "Summer in February," the soap-opera theatrics of "Downton Abbey" have the depth of Chekhov.

January 16, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cooper stomps around ineffectually, Stevens makes for a blandly tame suitor, and Browning is unable to ignite any chemistry with either. The scenery is stunning. But the swooning has all the heat of a midwinter's swim.

January 16, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A ceaselessly bland take on the famed Lamorna artists' colony in Cornwall, circa 1911.

January 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Blah Britpic offers scenery but little else.

January 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A poor script and patchy performances drag down this Edwardian-era drama.

January 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Real-life historical drama about a Bohemian artists' colony in Cornwall just before World War I ignores their work... to focus on a tediously tragic romantic triangle.

August 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

Regardless of its true-story credentials, Summer In February seems to have been cobbled together from the moldy spare parts of countless Masterpiece Theater PBS movies.

January 31, 2014 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

Gorgeous scenes along the Cornish coast are impressive, but the film lacks the dynamic chemistry between lovers that's so important in a romance-themed movie.

January 20, 2014 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

...Summer In February eventually settles into a dull routine much like the dissatisfied characters of the film, which will make for an easily dissatisfied audience.

January 17, 2014 Full Review Source: The Playlist
The Playlist

In the end, it's a miserable movie about miserable people, and we're left to wonder why. But any further time spent considering this forgettable romance feels wasted.

January 17, 2014 Full Review Source: CinemaBlend.com
CinemaBlend.com

A relatively alluring period drama set in an artist's colony in Cornwall in 1913.

January 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

It's sad when a movie that aspires to tell a sad, even tragic, story can't quite connect, and lies there inert on the screen instead of galvanizing or even stirring emotions the way it means to.

January 17, 2014 Full Review Source: RogerEbert.com
RogerEbert.com

Lifetime movie with English accents.

January 16, 2014 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Summer in February is a well-made costume drama that fans of Downton Abbey will probably appreciate, while those hoping to learn about Munnings will be better off hitting the nearest museum.

January 16, 2014 Full Review Source: Examiner.com
Examiner.com

A period excursion into unnecessary suffering, leaving a wide open opportunity for gloriously pained performances and a steady dispensing of anguish, but Summer in February just doesn't register as intended.

January 16, 2014 Full Review Source: Blu-ray.com
Blu-ray.com

As sumptuous as it is immensely shallow, the film practically revels in its attention to lush English landscapes as a means to distract from its derivative storytelling.

January 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

The film is at its best when the majestic countryside and the blossoming romance combine perfectly.

January 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Screen International
Screen International

It's not a particularly interesting or revealing story but there's plenty of plein-air painting and plein-air nudity ...

June 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

No sooner has Downton's Dan Stevens cast off Cousin Matthew's tweeds than he's back on screen as a stiff-upper-lipped toff. And if this wasn't typecasting enough, he's playing another thoroughly decent chap who is yearning after a flighty young woman.

June 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

We're supposed to be saddened that their world is ending and that the first World War, with its awful human toll, looms. Instead we're thinking where are the bloody Germans when you need them?

June 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

Audience Reviews for Summer in February

In 1913, young society girl, Florence (Browning), arrives at an artists' colony in Cornwall, hoping to develop her painting skills. There she falls for the abrasive and arrogant painter, AJ Munnings, who is tolerated by his friends purely because they consider him a genius (he's subsequently become known as history's best painter of horses). Munnings' friend, Gilbert Evans, is cut from an entirely different cloth, a shy, reserved former soldier. Evans falls for Florence but keeps his feelings to himself and, when Munnings proposes to the girl, she accepts. Once wed, however, Florence begins to realize she may have made a bad choice.
In Woody Allen's 'Sweet & Lowdown', Sean Penn portrays the world's second best guitar player ("there's this gypsy in France"). Like the painter, Munnings, he's gruff and conceited, his sociopathic attitude only rendered permissible by his talent. The only girl who can truly fall for him is a deaf mute, played by Samantha Morton. Oblivious to both the beauty of his chords and the horror of his tongue, only Morton's character can accept him without prejudice. Florence has no such disability, and therefore no such excuse, for accepting Munning's belligerence. Even her Father disapproves of the marriage, which makes her putting up with Munning frustrating to watch. The writer, Jonathan Smith, (adapting his novel), tries to paint (pardon the pun) Florence as a tragic figure, but she instead comes off as a victim of her own making. The movie's first half takes great pains to build up the idea of Munnings as some kind of monster but, in the post-wedding second half, Florence's paranoia and possessiveness garner audience sympathy towards the pugnacious painter. She accuses him of acts we never actually see him commit, which makes her come across as little more than an unreasonable harpy.

With copious full-frontal nudity from its young female stars in the opening half hour, 'Summer in February' begins like a homage to the sort of soft-core porn continental Europe churned out during the seventies. Those movies always seemed to feature an innocent young girl seduced by an older, worldlier artist, usually a painter or photographer who she would conveniently pose nude for. Even the outdoor scenes are photographed with a similar "Vaseline on the lens" aesthetic. These alfresco moments are handsomely mounted but, when indoors, the movie resembles those production line period dramas British TV networks are so fond of. If you're a fan of the likes of 'Downton Abbey', this will probably satisfy your tastes. For the rest of us, watching 'Summer in February' is a bit like posing for an artist for two hours only to be shown a picture of a turnip when the canvas is revealed. The artist is probably satisfied with himself, but it's not exactly what we paid for.
May 23, 2013
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