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: Janette Day, Pippa Cross
  • 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

    The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya

    Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata directs this delicately hand-drawn Oscar-nominated animation that's based on a 10th-century Japanese folk tale.

  • Film4

    Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

    Zachary Gordon stars in the third film in the family comedy franchise, based on Jeff Kinney's hit pre-teen novels.

    On Film4: 31 Jul 1:00PM

  • Film4

    Chef on Film4

    Jon Favreau, Sofía Vergara and Scarlett Johansson star in Film4's network premiere of Chef.

  • Film4

    The Big Lebowski On Film4

    Catch the Coen Brothers' best-loved comedy The Big Lebowski on Film4.

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • Up to much this weekend? 💪 https://t.co/rD3ujV1qMZ

  • Up next at 11.15pm, the one and only @perlmutations stars in Guillermo del Toro's comic-book action-fantasy Hellboy https://t.co/UbXA8633hJ

  • Our late-night highlight at 1.35am is Chris Smith's award-winning doc about low-budget filmmaking, American Movie. https://t.co/ZDuGIpNmBA

  • Coming up at 11.15pm, @RealGDT brings Mike Mignola's long-running fantasy-horror comic to the big-screen in Hellboy https://t.co/gbVsmwCaxU

  • Competition time! Win tickets to see Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic at @Somersethouse https://t.co/1Lxc3lTGmE https://t.co/7mVcGI2fTQ

Share