Friday, January 10, 2014

Gathr Previews Presents: Summer in February

Tuesday night was among the coldest we've had in this area in a while, so let me tell you, being let into the theater a full half hour before the movie started was much appreciated.

It was an interesting movie, although as it went on, I was kind of making associations that didn't necessarily have a lot to do with the movie itself, but do sort of help show how well it does at evoking the time period. First is the one I mention in the review, the Bertie Wooster "well, when someone asks you to marry them" bit. There's a moment when a marriage proposal is made and accepted in what seems like a hasty manner, and it made me wonder just how casually or formally such things happened a hundred years ago, what with dating as we know it not nearly so common as it is now.

The other thing, though, was from the scenes where the entire community was getting together and singing or the like. But it put me in mind of how, when people talk about the way content companies freak out over digital distribution, it's a reflection of how they've tried to kill every new distribution since there has been commercial distribution of media and how even gramophone recordings were fought because they might cut into the lucrative sheet music business. It sounds goofy, but you can see, with everyone gathering around the piano, where this could really have been a thing.

Anyway, it looks like this one was a true preview, and the movie opens next weekend. It's not bad, though I don't know how much distribution it will get with the award nominees taking so much of the boutique theater space.

Summer in February

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 7 January 2014 at the Regent Theatre (Gathr Previews Presents, digital)

Summer in February takes place in 1913 Cornwall, which had become an artists' colony, and in some ways that community is more interesting than any of the people in it. There's nothing wrong with the story the filmmakers are trying to tell or the characters involved, but there are interesting details to the scenes of people being a community that make the love triangle at the center of the movie seem kind of generic by comparison.

That main story has Florence Carter Wood (Emily Browning) coming to Cornwall to live with her brother Joey (Max Deacon) and study painting, though she's pretty enough that some of the artists would have her model as well. One who does is AJ Munnings (Dominic Cooper), a brilliant painter who is as confident of his abilities as he is loud in pubs. His opposite in terms of temperament is Captain Gilbert Evans (Dan Stevens), a handsome reservist who connects these artists with spaces to rent. AJ and Gilbert are friends, but someone like Florence can shake up that status quo.

Fortunately, Florence is not just there to be a thing that brings two men into conflict, but a person who, when she's at her best, can push back at AJ and likely has the potential to become a fine artist herself. She'd likely be diagnosed with something and medicated to help regulate it today, and Emily Browning does well in portraying that sort of fragility as well as the way that Florence is, as they would say then, a sheltered young woman who does not know much of the world. Browning may not quite make Florence the center of the movie, but she does let the viewer see why she can attract through her strength despite a big dollop of insecurity.

Full review at EFC.

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