Summer in February Is Ceaselessly Bland

Emily Browning and Dan Stephens in Summer in February.
Emily Browning and Dan Stephens in Summer in February.
© 2013 - Tribeca Film

It's particularly disappointing to watch a film "based on a true story," an interesting one at that, and suspect that what's on the screen must pale in comparison to what really happened.

That nagging frustration overshadows Summer in February, a ceaselessly bland take on the famed Lamorna artists' colony in Cornwall, circa 1911.

The problems began in casting: As a love-torn trio, Dominic Cooper, Emily Browning, and Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens muster about as much charisma between them as that of the dour English countryside their characters inhabit. Florence Carter-Wood (Browning), an aspiring painter, arrives at the colony and is immediately introduced to fellow painter and show-off Alfred Munnings (Cooper) and his best friend, Captain Gilbert Evans (Stevens), an aw-shucks, rosy-cheeked do-gooder.


Summer in February
Directed by Christopher Menaul
Tribeca Film
Opens January 17, Quad Cinema
Available on demand

Subscribe to the Voice Film Club podcast

To the surprise of no one, Florence fancies Gilbert's sweetness but instead marries Alfred, establishing a moral quandary that is both uninspired and transparent; Alfred's established career is the clear draw. The characters are broadly defined and tedious, which makes sitting through the film's 100 minutes something of a chore.

When incident does occur, director Christopher Menaul seems unprepared to deal with it, resorting to distractingly incongruous shaky-cam techniques during moments of barely memorable drama. Stevens's performance as an impassioned love interest is particularly ineffectual, but, sadly, that's not even the film's biggest drawback. Menaul presents a watered-down version of what was undoubtedly an exciting time.

Dan Stevens in Summer in February.
© 2014 - Tribeca Film
Use Current Location

Related Location

Quad Cinema

34 W. 13th St.
New York, NY 10011


Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >