Film Review: Summer in February

Summer in February

Based on true events, Summer in February is a historical drama that lacks passion.

Florence Carter-Wood joins her brother Joey in Lamorna Valley, Cornwall, which is home to a colony of artists. There she meets the talented but incendiary artist A.J. Munnings, who offers to teach her. Florence also catches the eye of soldier and best friend of Munnings, Gilbert Evans…

Summer in February looks the part of a period drama. Christopher Menaul’s film concerns love and relationships against the backdrop of art. The film therefore should imbue some kind of passion. Unfortunately this is absent; Summer in February feels tepid more than anything else.

The narrative unfolds at a suitable pace for the most part, although some aspects do seem elongated. Director Menaul introduces the characters succinctly in the beginning of the film so that dominant personality traits are made apparent.

Initial interest in the characters and plot at the beginning of Summer in February does wane as the film progresses. The narrative becomes less engaging; the incidents that occur should be more absorbing than they actually are. Some of the protagonists’ actions should be more frustrating than they are. This is because it is difficult to care enough about them.

Andrew Dunn’s cinematography effectively captures both the beauty and the coldness of the landscape. Costumes and art direction depict an authentic-looking representation of the Edwardian era. The artwork exhibited in the film effectively conveys the talents of the artists who feature.

Dominic Cooper offers a strong performance as Munnings; he is convincing in all the artist’s guises. Emily Browning is adequate as Florence, although at times her beauty is relied upon instead of offering her character more depth. Dan Stevens looks the part as Gilbert Evans, although the role does not seem a stretch for him.

Summer in February is inoffensive and will just about hold the audience’s attention. Nevertheless, the film is unlikely to generate a strong emotional reaction.