Summer in Genoa | Chicago Reader

Summer in Genoa

Michael Winterbottom's 2008 drama suffers from an ending that seems abrupt, even arbitrary, but that may be partly because the characters' dire emotional issues are inherently irresolvable. A little girl (Perla Haney-Jardine) playfully clamps her hands over her mother's eyes as they're driving on an icy road and causes a head-on collision; the girl and her teenage sister (Willa Holland) survive, but the mother (Hope Davis) is killed. A mere five months later, the girls' father (Colin Firth) uproots the little family to accept a one-year professorship in Genoa, and their lingering grief, guilt, and resentment are starkly objectified by the narrow, tangled alleyways. The film is eerily persuasive in conjuring up a child's troubled mind, where delight, fantasy, and horror maintain a delicate balance. With Catherine Keener. Also known as Genova.94 min.

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