100 Min | Biography – Drama – Romance | June 2013
IMDB Rating: 5.7
Director: Christopher Menaul
Starring: Dominic Cooper, Emily Browning, Dan Stevens
Summer in February Review: Summer in February feels like one of those movies that knows it’s not going to get nominated for any Academy Awards, especially since the film is a United Kingdom (UK) productions and the producers probably weren’t even sure if it was going to get released in the U.S., but somehow ends up feeling like an “accidental Oscar Baiter”. The story is based on the true story of the Lamorna group in the U.K., and centers around three characters. It is a love triangle between AJ Munnings (Dominic Cooper), his new wife, Florence Carter Wood (Emily Browning), and his friend and Florence’s eventual lover, Gilbert Evans (Dan Stevens). Summer in February is a beautifully shot movie and feels like a period piece with the correct costumes, and some of the acting is pretty good, but for my taste, it just lacked action.
In Summer In February, the three leads are good in their respective roles. Dominic Cooper, in the role of AJ, brings an easy level of energy, though he seems somewhat incapable of yelling. His character, true story or not, is just unlikeable. Are we supposed to sympathize with a man who abuses his wife that way? No wonder she had an affair with his friend. Sure, he changes his attitude near the end, but it’s just too late for me. Dan Stevens is good as Gilbert, though he has moments where he overacts (hence the Oscar bait feel). His character is way more likable than AJ’s, and that just seems somewhat unnecessary. Emily Browning is easily the weakest of the three. She is an Australian actress, and she was sounded Australian, rather than British, she does have a slow delivery, and no real chemistry between either of the leads (Dominic Cooper and Dan Stevens). There are other actors and characters in the film, but none of them were as well developed as the three leads.
The direction by Christopher Menaul (unlike Dallas Buyers Club) seems to be playing it easy for the most part. The musical score by Benjamin Wallfisch is melodramatic and supposedly “uplifting” as to be expected in a period drama. I know this based off a true story, but that doesn’t excuse the messy nature of the film. Summer In February just feels like one of those films that they made and forgot to give a flavor to.