CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Drama, Romance
  • 2013
  • 101 mins

Summer In February

Summer In February

Synopsis

Jonathan Smith adapts his novel about rocky love on the Cornish coast in 1913.

About

Adapted by Jonathan Smith from his 1995 novel of the same name, Summer In February documents the ultimately tragic love triangle between Edwardian artist Alfred Munnings (Dominic Cooper), his best friend Captain Gilbert Evans (Dan Stevens) and the woman they both fell in love with, Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning). Set in Cornwall just before the First World War, the tempestuous relationships between these three intriguing historical characters are played out against the craggy backdrop of the Cornish coastline.

This script undoubtedly benefits from being written by the author of the original text; Smith knows his characters well and delivers taut, insightful scenes. Cinematographer Andrew Dunn (The Perks of Being A Wallflower) furthermore makes the most of dizzying cliffs, serene riverbanks and rickety cottages. Perhaps the most striking element of this deeply touching adaptation, which is based on events documented in the diaries of Captain Gilbert Evans, is its use of strong casting contrasts to illustrate the destructive clash of passionate personalities. Cooper oozes an uneasy, almost sordid, charisma as the unpredictable, and at times intimidating, Munnings whilst Stevens’ clean-cut manner, jutting jaw and perfectly prim posture highlights his unbending virtue as his heart is broken, by both his friend and the woman he loves, more than once. Caught between these two opposing suitors, Browning’s petite, bowed presence effortlessly paints the portrait of a delicate and complicated young woman. All in all, both the casting and the acting are a decided triumph.

A love triangle may not seem the most original storyline, but director Christopher Menaul adds intrigue by refusing to pigeon hole his characters into the categories of good and evil; morally right and wrong. By the time the final credits roll the audience is left to decide for themselves whether or not Munnings did mistreat Carter-Wood (although the fact he did not mention her in his memoirs in the same way Evans wrote about her in his diaries speaks volumes) or whether her depressive state made a bad situation far, far worse. The film does, at times, suffer from pacing problems but at a neat 100 minutes this is only a very minor flaw in what is a heartrending depiction of a very sad episode in British cultural history.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Emily Browning, Dominic Cooper
  • Producer: Pippa Cross, Janette Day
  • Photographer: Andrew Dunn
  • Composer: Benjamin Wallfisch

In a nutshell

Thoughtfully cast and beautifully shot Menaul’s opaque portrayal of love, betrayal and loss in an artists’ colony is not quite a masterpiece, but unquestionably displays some impressive flourishes that will stir and move.

by Helen Cox

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Win Win

    Win Win

    Paul Giamatti stars as a struggling lawyer and volunteer wrestling coach who takes in his client's troubled grandson

    On Film4: 2 Dec 1:45AM

  • Film4 The Drop

    The Drop

    Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini and Noomi Rapace star in a feature-length adaptation of a short crime story by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island), directed by Belgian filmmaker Michael R. Roskam (Bullhead)

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Joe Cunningham's 11 recommendations for LFF 14

    Unfortunately I haven¿t been jet setting around the world this year to the various exciting international film festivals, but that¿s what makes the London Film Festival¿s compilation approach to progr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Michael Leader's 11 recommendations for LFF 2014

    One of the best things about the London Film Festival¿s smorgasbord approach to programming is that, amongst the world premieres and gala screenings, there¿s an eclectic collection of exciting films o

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • "The design is perfect, the only flaw is that we have to rely on you to fly it." At 6.50pm, Dennis Quaid stars in Flight Of The Phoenix.

  • @marcjo75 Hi Marc. Glad you enjoyed what you saw! You can catch the end on 4oD right here: http://t.co/lFjXp9b0VP

  • @itsHamzah No need to worry, it's on 4oD! http://t.co/lFjXp9b0VP

  • @wckdstiles24 Hi Lauren - looks like Wild Bill's on Netflix and Hulu Plus in the States. It's also available on DVD, too!

  • If you didn't know, the Best Story Oscar was phased out in 1957 in favour of Best Original Screenplay. The last winner? The Brave One.

Share