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Article

A Summer in Genoa Review - Colin Firth

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Colin Firth, Willa Holland | GRIEVING FAMILY Willa Holland and Colin Firth in A Summer in Genoa
Everett Collection

A Summer in Genoa

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
R
runtime:
93 minutes
performer:
Colin Firth, Catherine Keener
director:
Michael Winterbottom

We gave it a B+

This month we get flicks from Oscar winners Hilary Swank and Colin Firth that never came to a theater near you

Hilary Swank has two Academy Awards, a pair of Golden Globes, and a virtual monopoly on roles that call for scrappy women who take no guff. So why would she agree to play the victim in a flashy, trashy woman-in-peril flick like The Resident (2011, R, 1 hr., 31 mins.)? If you’ve ever watched Jennie Garth cowering before some creep on Lifetime, you know exactly what’s on tap in this bad boy. Swank plays an ER doctor who moves to the Big Apple and finds a too-good-to-be-true apartment that comes with breathtaking views and a dreamy landlord (Watchmen‘s Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Of course, he turns out to be too good to be true as well. In fact, when Morgan’s beefcakey Ty Pennington wannabe isn’t putting up crown molding, he’s either spying on Swank getting undressed or sneaking into her bedroom while she’s asleep. The problem is, we know way too early that he’s got a screw loose. A red herring or two would have been nice. There are no real shocks or suspense en route to the film’s (admittedly awesome) third-act nail-gun showdown. The Resident wants to be a twisty, creepy real estate thriller like Pacific Heights or Single White Female, but it ends up feeling predictable and slightly pervy. I think that’s because Swank is too A-list at this point in her career to play a character who takes this many gratuitous candlelit baths in one movie. She can do a lot better. And so can you. Mercifully, the disc comes with no EXTRAS. C

If a movie starring Steven Seagal goes straight to DVD, no one flinches. But Colin Firth? It’s got to be pretty awful, right? Not so fast. A few years before winning his Best Actor Oscar for The King’s Speech, Firth played a grieving college professor in Michael Winterbottom’s A Summer in Genoa (2008, R, 1 hr., 33 mins.). And despite the film’s extended layover in mothballs, it’s surprisingly good. After his wife (Hope Davis) dies in a car accident, Firth’s character accepts a teaching post in sunny Italy and packs up his collection of linen shirts and his two daughters. In their new home, they eat pasta and try to come to terms with their loss. The younger girl (Perla Haney-Jardine) has visions of her dead mother; the older, teenage one (Willa Holland) seems more interested in Italian boys. Genoa doesn’t offer any earth-shattering revelations, but it’s heartfelt and sincere thanks to Firth’s humanity. Seek it out. The EXTRAS include a few brief interviews with cast and crew members. B+

See all of this week’s reviews