Summer In February is the true story of an artist colony in Lamorna, Cornwall during the early days of the First World War. AJ Munnings (Dominic Cooper) runs the colony that lives a bohemian existence, much to the disgust of some locals. For years he, his followers and his best friend Gilbert (Dan Stevens) lived in virtual tranquility, but one stormy night Florence (Emily Browning) arrives and puts them all in a spin.
Writer Jonathan Smith has created an interesting film with Summer In February, he creates characters you warm to, but then suddenly grow to hate. Something, somewhere in the movie goes so well, but then something completely misfires and it’s difficult to tell exactly where it all goes wrong.
It’s a difficult task for anyone creating a script; it’s harder of course when you are trying to create a script from real events. While you have all the basis of a story set in stone for you, it’s difficult to pump life into a dead story. While I have absolutely no doubt that to some this is an inviting story, especially if they have passion for the artist the story revolves, for those that don’t this movie is a dead duck.
The big problem surrounds Florence the character, not Browning the actress, she simply does not make any sense. While few men will truly be unable to understand the female mind, the character we deal with here is an absolute nightmare. Trapped in a love circle between AJ and Gilbert, Florence walks a fine line between the two, and in her own words she confuses herself with her own relationship decisions. When fifty percent of the way through the film Florence tries to take her own life, you have no sympathy for her, in fact when she survives you almost want to head off to Cornwall and finish the job off. It’s not just limited to Florence; by the end each and every character annoys you in some way.
While I commend the scriptwriter for his efforts with a dead duck story, one of my accompanying souls made a valid point, and that point is that you know you have a problem when in the final moments the screenwriter explains the title of the movie by throwing it into the script, just randomly.
Sadly it’s a nice effort, but unless you have passion for the people the story portrays, you’ll find this a frustrating viewing, it’s lacklustre, filled with one dimensional characters, and on the whole just incredibly dreary.
Summer In February is in UK cinemas from June 14th.