Summer in February

Dan Stevens and Emily Browning iin Summer in February

Film Title: Summer in February

Director: Christopher Menaul

Starring: Emily Browning, Dan Stevens, Dominic Cooper

Genre: Drama

Running Time: 100 min

Fri, Jun 14, 2013, 00:00

   

HH It’s the early part of the 20th century and various free-spirited artists have converged on the Cornish coast to be privileged and drink down the local pub and what-not. Soon, but not nearly
soon enough, cocksure artist AJ Cummings (Dominic Cooper) forms a doomed romantic attachment to the risibly dull Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning). Her brother’s chum Gilbert (Dan Stevens) watches haplessly on, having missed his chance with a female character who’s almost as uninteresting as he is.

Meanwhile, horses run – romantically, of course – along the beach and Benjamin Wallfisch’s thundering score attempts to hoodwink us into thinking we’re watching a quality film. We’re so not. Imagine Downtown Abbey stripped of charm and lobotomised.

No, wait. Picture The Beano’s Lord Snooty stamping, as if wearing Orwell’s jackboot, on your human face forever. Summer in February maintains all the subtlety of said fascistic footwear throughout.

Characters are introduced in the language of Wikipedia stubs. They then invariably fail to meet the trade description.

We can’t remember a film populated by more ill-defined, unsympathetic creations than the one-dimensional spectres that hang around this Edwardian flim-flam. Reliable sorts Cooper and Stevens can’t do a thing with the material: the former is a jerk, the latter is a weed.

Forget Chekhov’s shotgun on the wall, Browning’s Florence goes one better and keeps a family-sized bottle of poison at the ready. Missed it first time around? Here it again, fore-grounded in the shot.

If spending time with these twee twits as they rollick around a beach and moon at one another wasn’t bad enough, a breathtaking lack of period authenticity leaves one watching out for the Zara label every time they strip off.

We’re supposed to be saddened that their world is ending and that the first World War, with its awful human toll, looms.

Instead we’re thinking where are the bloody Germans when you need them?