Genova (‘A Summer in Genoa’)

DRAMA; 1hr 33min

STARRING: Colin Firth, Catherine Keener, Hope Davis, Willa Holland, Perla Haney-Jardine

O solo mio: Firth

After a car accident in which his wife (Davis) is killed, university lecturer Joe (Firth) moves with his two daughters (Holland and Haney-Jardine as Kelly and Mary) from Chicago to the Italian port city of Genova. Genova — also called Genoa — is a maze of skinny, shadowy laneways and centuries-old architecture: a niche of history in which to try to heal. Young Mary, plagued by guilt and nightmares about her mother’s death, is the most obviously damaged of the three; her lovely, remote 16-year-old sister is off discovering boys, while their father, being British and also having no choice, just gets on with things.


Director Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart ) and cinematographer Marcel Zyskind go in close on everyone as Joe’s wistful friend Barbara (Keener) squires the broken family around the atmospheric sights. Winterbottom isn’t one to be hurried through the incremental details of the everyday. And as the family figures out the delicate business of keeping themselves together, the actors handle the dialogue with an in-the-moment naturalness that makes bird’s-eye observers of their audience.