Genova

Genova

(2008)

Drama about a man (Colin Firth) who moves his two daughters to Italy after their mother dies in a car accident. The city of Genova has an impact on all three as the youngest daughter starts to see the ghost of her mother, while the older one discovers her sexuality.... More

The cast also includes the fantastic Catherine Keener (Where the Wild Things Are, Capote) and Hope Davis (American Splendor, Synecdoche, New York). Directed by Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart, 24 Hour Party People).Hide

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Flicks Review

British director Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart, 24 Hour Party People) is one of the more prolific filmmakers doing the rounds and his 2008 release, Genova, has finally hit our shores. There are glimpses of his undoubted talent on display in this story of a family overcoming grief, but this is less a hit than it is a miss.

The Italian setting is picturesque and gives the work an armchair-travel quality that keeps proceedings visually interesting, while the cast members (including Colin Firth and Hope Davis) turn in solid performances.

Unfortunately, the approach to capturing the overcoming of grief is staunchly observational, with key issues remaining unspoken, thus putting a cap on the drama. The neutral, naturalistic approach is also a mitigating factor in this, as it rejects a structured, strongly developed plot and instead results in slow pacing for what story there is.

All this adds up to a melodrama without enough drama. Winterbottom’s penchant for regular output may be the reason for this short-changing, as the film feels like a good concept that just needed more time in development.


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The Press Reviews

  • As solid as you’d look for from Winterbottom and this cast, but the touches of supernatural thriller in an otherwise rather conventional coming-to-terms-with-bereavement drama aren’t entirely convincing. Full Review

  • Bottom Line: Fine performances bolster this moody, poignant portrait of guilt and forgiveness Full Review

  • Style in search of story. Full Review

  • An ancient Italian city, a mourning parent, a ghostly, potentially threatening presence – don’t look now, but there appears to be a Roeg element at work in the latest effort from Michael Winterbottom. Full Review

  • While the story in itself doesn’t lack drama or emotion, its delivery certainly does. Full Review

  • Michael Winterbottom knows how to tell a story. He knows how to make it real and how to press our emotional buttons. This story about love, loss and making new rules is not unfamiliar, yet in Winterbottom's hands, it has an appealing freshness. New beginnings in new Italian surroundings include not only a culture change, but a chance to come out from the shadows inherited by the past. Life affirming and warm, Genova captures a great sense of place as we explore the intricate maze of cobbled streets, the historic buildings with peeling facades and well-worn green shutters, sunny beaches and dense forests. Full Review

  • Serially chameleonic Brit auteur Michael Winterbottom continues his sojourning ways with "Genova," even as its tale of familial loss and grief seems a deliberate extension of -- and chance to improve upon -- the director's "A Mighty Heart." Here, the titular Italian town shares top billing with Colin Firth as a bereaved husband, with two highly affecting young actresses as his resilient daughters, the smaller of whom periodically sees Mom (Hope Davis) as a ghost. Pic's strengths as a '50s Euro-style meller paradoxically make "Genova" a somewhat iffy proposition for Stateside release. Full Review