Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Drama, Romance
  • 2013
  • 101 mins

Summer In February

Summer In February


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


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: Dominic Cooper, Emily Browning
  • 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


    Katell Quillévéré's family-based drama follows Suzanne, a teenage mother who falls for a gangster

  • Film4

    The Purge

    Ethan Hawke stars in James DeMonaco's drama about a sanctioned night where all crime is legal

  • Channel 4 Blog

    BIFA brings 2015 nominated films to cinemas

    BIFA-nominated films including the Film4-backed 45 Years, The Lobster, Macbeth, Amy and Ex Machina will be available in cinemas nationwide from 23 November in a special public screenings event. The

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Film4-backed films receive 41 nominations at the BIFAs

    Film4 has received a total of 41 nominations for the films it has backed at this year¿s British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs), with the nomination lists for the Best British Film and Best Director a

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • "Mr Eckland is a rude, foul-mouthed, drunken, filthy beast" At 4.30pm, Cary Grant plays against type in Father Goose

  • Up next at 4.30pm Cary Grant is an alcoholic beach bum spying on the Japanese navy in WWII comedy Father Goose

  • @daniel_silent Hello! @4Talent handle all internship/work experience opportunities for Film4 and Channel 4:

  • Here's our Carol special with Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Todd Haynes & Phyllis Nagy.

  • Todd Haynes' critically acclaimed drama Carol is in cinemas today! Here's the trailer: