A Summer In Genoa


A Summer In Genoa

Critics Consensus

Michael Winterbottom's tale of grief and mourning, though frustrating in places, is intelligent filmmaking with superb central performances.



Total Count: 44


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,301
User image

Watch it now

A Summer In Genoa Photos

Movie Info

In the wake of a family tragedy, an English ex-patriot living in the United States decides to relocate himself and his daughters to Italy, only to discover that grief has followed them overseas when the youngest girl proves unable to move past her acute emotional pain. An Englishman at heart, Joe (Colin Firth) now lives a happy life with his wife and daughters in the United States. Their happy existence is turned upside down in an instant, however, when his wife is driving their daughters home one day and becomes momentarily distracted from the road. Later, as Joe and his daughters attempt to contend with the thick fog of grief hanging over their household, the loving father surmises that a change of scenery may be in order; accepting a teaching job in Italy in hopes that it will help them contend with their bereavement. For teenage daughter Kelly (Willa Holland), at least, the move works miracles: though Kelly was sullen and withdrawn back home, she seems awakened by the endless possibilities that the future may hold in Europe - even entering into a clandestine romance with a handsome Italian boy. Kelly's younger sister Mary (Perla Haney-Jardine), unfortunately, is another case entirely. Despite her father's most valiant efforts to assuage her grief, Mary just doesn't seem capable of shaking the loss. Meanwhile, as Joe rekindles an old friendship with a university colleague (Catherine Keener), his family soaks in the marvelous medley of medieval, Renaissance, and contemporary influences of the scenic, northern Italian city.


Critic Reviews for A Summer In Genoa

All Critics (44) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (10)

  • Whether you go with this idea might depend on how many times you've seen it before, in sentimental American films. The fact that the film is more artful doesn't make the ghost of the mother less of a cliche.

    Nov 5, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Though he labours the symbolism of the maze, Winterbottom infuses this otherwise subtle observational drama with the verisimilitude that has become his chief style signature.

    Nov 4, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A delightful sojourn for one indie filmmaker and his cast and crew in a fascinating old Italian town.

    Nov 1, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Genova conveys its strongest themes through insinuation, and modulates its shifting moods through Winterbottom's precisely calibrated DV processing.

    Sep 1, 2009

    Rob Nelson

    Top Critic
  • Winterbottom employs a naturalistic style that, in its self-conscious flatness, becomes an affectation, and the complete, wanton lack of any kind of drama is frustrating.

    Mar 31, 2009 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • A film that's ambiguous, involving and very intelligent indeed.

    Mar 27, 2009 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for A Summer In Genoa

  • Jul 31, 2014
    Michael Winterbottom in Genova showed us all his skills, except one... knowing how to end the movie! He is a director of such integrity that leaves me puzzled how could he finish a movie like that after giving us details such as awkwardness of hugging somebody at a wake while holding a plate of food, the momentary sigh of frustration a parent gives when woken by a crying child before they leap out of bed to provide comfort and a little kiss of a teacher and student where everything seems wrong... At least Mary (Perla Haney-Jardine) and Kelly (Willa Holland) looked natural and they were the perfect casting choice. Maybe Winterbottom is one of the greatest living directors but Genova is unfinished business! At the end the life goes on but dissaponted crowd in the theatre is a good sign that something is wrong!
    Panta O Super Reviewer
  • Jul 31, 2014
    If you want action, complex plot and driving narrative with plenty of twists and turns, then maybe, you have to forget this film. <br/> <br/>Co-written by director Winterbottom, the facts of this story are fairly straightforward. Widower Joe (Firth), an English academic living in America, loses his wife, Marrianne (Davis), in a car accident. After months of bereavement he sees a chance for some renewal in a teaching contract in Genova, Italy, and takes his daughters Kelly (Holland) and Mary (Haney-Jardine) with him. Here he is shown the ropes by Barbara (Keener), an old university friend who is sweet to him, though he only has eyes for Rosa (Romeo), a student. <br/> <br/>In Genova, daughter Kelly rebels and stays out late partying while younger sister Mary deals with her grief wandering the streets, with sadness and constant nightmares about her mother's death. Joe tries to keep what's left of his family together as he rediscovers life and love again in an exotic setting-- Genova, a northern Italian port city that is steeped in history and stunningly beautiful. <br/> <br/>With its architectural splendours, the city is itself a wonderful setting. And the performances are solid and nuanced. Colin Firth is an adept actor, if somewhat understated, and both Haney-Jardine and Holland also give performances as his daughters. <br/> <br/>The film resonates with emotional truth and is compelling despite the apparent lack of action. This may lead some to ask: so what's it all about? Life, I guess, as simple as that.
    Cinema F Super Reviewer
  • Jul 31, 2014
    Michael Winterbottom must be on horse tranquillizer while shooting this. Yes, he always tries something different with every movie he makes but this one stands out among his other works, being ordinary. It's too mainstream for Winterbottom. It's a decent drama-thriller, telling the story of a family, trying to deal with the loss of their mother. The name is Genova, because that's where the father and two daughters end up moving. It's ok if he wanted to shoot a "calm" movie for a change but it's bad news if he is going mainstream.
    Serdar C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 31, 2014
    firth plays a widow,taking his daughters to genova italy, toget away from the stress,and be closer to family, firth is a good watch, and genova looks stunning,
    scott g Super Reviewer

A Summer In Genoa Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features