Genova (15)

Film

Genova02(2).jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Mar 24 2009

Grief and tears, sun and sex: Michael Winterbottom rides his globe-trotting indie charabanc into the Italian city of Genova to tell a moving story of loss and displacement that’s light on its feet and heavy with emotion.

Winterbottom fires the film’s ignition in its tense opening scenes: a young American mother (Hope Davis) is driving in winter when she suffers an accident which kills her. Left behind are husband Joe (Colin Firth, below) and two girls, 16-year-old Kelly (Willa Holland) and ten-year-old Mary (Perla Haney-Jardine). Once the funeral and five months have passed, the family opt to move to Italy, where Joe will teach at the same university as Barbara  (Catherine Keener), an old friend from years back. New country, new city, new start – as announced by the trumpeting sound over the opening credits of Georges Delerue’s ‘Grand Choral’ and the sight of dazzling aerial shots of Genova: Truffaut meets Google Earth.

The city in the searing heat of summer becomes a backdrop for an energetic examination of grief and renewal as each of the trio negotiates a new life with the memory of the old one fresh in the mind. We dash about the city, sucking in every alley and remote corner. Education touches them all: a sexual one for Kelly, whose hormones go loopy at the sight of Mediterranean boys, piano lessons for both girls and open discussions between Joe and his students – perhaps the film’s weakest episodes – about the Italian national character (‘Has the euro had any impact on a sense of Italian identity?’ he asks. Thankfully, Winterbottom doesn’t linger too long here.)

Three strong performances, with Firth as a sensitive lynchpin, reinforce the tenderness of the father-daughter relationship. But Winterbottom is also interested in what keeps us apart and he explores those areas even a loving parent can’t reach: young Mary screams out at night and sees her dead mother in windows and on the streets, while Kelly finds comfort in a boyfriend. Her blossoming sexuality puts a similar distance between her and her younger sister. Meanwhile, Joe puts up his own barriers: he’ll only let Barbara and a young student admirer so close before clamming up and raising his defences.

Laurence Coriat, the director’s co-writer on this film, also scripted ‘Wonderland’ and again their work together has produced a film in which the city’s texture and the emotions of its characters are at one. Comparisons have been made with ‘Don’t Look Now’, but that’s a bit misleading: this isn’t a supernatural story, even if Mary does ‘see’ her mother. Yet what ‘Genova’ does share with Nic Roeg’s film is an awareness of how claustrophobic – and liberating – it can be to mix a strange city with devastating loss. It’s at once a deeply sad film and a deeply truthful and optimistic one.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Mar 27, 2009

Duration:

90 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

2.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:4
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|20
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Anne Cleary

This was a small film but worthwhile nevertheless.It did remind me of Don't look now, mainly because there was a menacing, tense feeling throughout, a feeling that something awful was about to happen immininently. It worked wonderfully as a study of grief, the day to day stuff that's not dramatic but gut wrenching just the same.The relationships were drawn subtly and movingly. Obviously not for people who enjoy Hollywood Blockbusters but for those who enjoy quiet, thoughtful films I would recommend it.

dennis toye

I thought this a brilliant film which broght the grief of the three main mcharacaters into a stark, vivid focus. Feeling the mistrust of life in this overpoweringly lovely city. The fact that nothing happens (as in Harry Potter) is the whole pont. We are being asked to live with these people as they try to cope with a life which just goes on....superb.

dennis toye

I thought this a brilliant film which broght the grief of the three main mcharacaters into a stark, vivid focus. Feeling the mistrust of life in this overpoweringly lovely city. The fact that nothing happens (as in Harry Potter) is the whole pont. We are being asked to live with these people as they try to cope with a life which just goes on....superb.

Robert Thornton

I presume the only point of Kelly having psychic abilities at the begining was a ploy to cause the crash as one assumed the ability would be used again in the story which I was waiting for. Alas this never came so all the tension of the street scenes and Mary being lost were quite pointless. It was all very watchable but rather disappointing.

Hils

Very strange nonentity of a film. Good acting and scenery, but virtually no story, and such a nothing ending. Why were production crews from UK and Sweden involved (see credits)? Was the film hacked about, and that is why it made no sense?

Mark

Boring boring boring. Nothing actually happens in this film, not even enough dialogue to keep us interested. Just lots of scenes of them walking about, and when it gets tense with the little girl being left behind in the streets, nothing comes of it. There is no real plot at all. I did like the acting, and the natural style of acting they used, but that's all that kept me from falling asleep. 2 stars

Disappointed big time!

This film was absoulutly crap! i sat through it looking at my partner whenever we thought something was going to happen. I thought i must have fell asleep because i dont actually know why this film got made. It's pathetic. My son fell asleep during it. How the hell is it a supernatural thriller? Please answer that because i have no clue!!! im extremely disappointed

dotlen

The tone of the film was such that I believed there would be a message that would come through at the end. I was left disappointed and looked up other reviews to see what I had missed.

Gerry

Hopeless and dreadfully slow film which never develops into anything that is worth watching. Although strong performances by the actors, it would appear to be a film made by a self interested director who would know a story or denouement if it bit him on the bum. Marks out of ten - 2 and only for the acting and scenery.

Butonit

Appalling - Sat waiting for something to happen, then the end credits came along!

John Gent

It would be more entertaining to watch paint dry than to sit through this pathetic, unbelievable story. It had a mildly interesting start,crawled through an aimless middle section, then finished, thank God, with a whimper. Colin Firth, as always, played Colin Firth. Avoid this film at all cost, better to join a knitting class.

SquirrelOwl

The dullest film I have ever had the misfortune of watching. Nothing happens - NOTHING! I didn't even feel the sense of loss that is so apparant. I felt the family seemed to move on pretty well. There are hints that something might happen during several sinister scenes in alleyways with various undesirables looking at the sisters but then they get home fine and nothing happens. Great.

Sophia

The only interesting thing about this film is the way it was shot. I despise stories where nothing ever happens, and you've forgotten the entire movie 10 seconds after seeing it. I would not recommend it to anyone, and it should not be compared to 'Don't look now'. Other than the fact they both deal with grief set in Italy, they have nothing in common. All in all, an utterly pointless film, and a waste of time.

Rohne Hill

The comparisons to Don't Look now are incredibly stark and I dare say deliberate. However Winterbottom is able to extrapolate that films sense of lingering, haunting loss, dicovery of the new territories after death and some of the impending foreign dread free from narrative scaffolding. This allows him to explore those aspects far more throroughly. Charecteristically Winterbottom has a fine eye but perhaps the film as a whole is just a little too delicate for my tastes on that day.

Nic Niewart

To think It's the same film as DON'T LOOK NOW.Both are family moves to Italy after bereavement.Only this is dull, dark as in no budget for lighting, and further dullness. The thing I remember about this is the obvious coarse placement of RYANAIR logos on the trip over. Really a poor piece of sloppy film making and the star's already wooden features did little to liven up the dialogue. I wouldn't rent it if it was free.

hannah

beautiful and saddening story. dynamics between passing good moments and terrible moments in a life of someone who has just lost someone important are very well balanced.

hannah

beautiful and saddening story. dynamics between passing good moments and terrible moments in a life of someone who has just lost someone important are very well balanced.

freya

I saw a preview of "Genova". One of the best films I've seen in ages. Beautifully shot with fine performances by all the cast. Another winner for Michael Winterbottom.

freya

I saw a preview of "Genova". One of the best films I've seen in ages. Beautifully shot with fine performances by all the cast. Another winner for Michael Winterbottom.