summer in february

Director: Christopher Menaul

Starring: Dan Stevens, Dominic Cooper and Emily Browning

Running Time: 100 minutes

Certificate: 15

I’m going to be honest; I was looking for a DOWNTON ABBEY film, and had hoped I had found it in the form of SUMMER IN FEBRUARY. Except the movie seems like a poor pre-World War I story by Dan Stevens’ old drama teacher who he had taken pity on – which is exactly what it is.

The film focuses on a group of Bohemian artists in Cornwall before World War I who call themselves the Lamorna Group, and two friends (Cooper and Stevens) who fall in love with the same girl leading to upset and conflict.

Let’s start with the positives of the film. The Cornish scenery is quite breath taking. The movie has a certain depth that the director wants us to see, so whether it’s in the Cornish pub or by the scenic cliffs, it’s obvious we should enjoy the setting.

At first, both the script and story are uplifting. You’re made aware a drama teacher has written the story as the film continues, especially through the emotive, yet seemingly action-less dialogue spoken. Dan Stevens and Dominic Cooper don’t act badly, however they’re both within their comfort zones.

Sadly, SUMMER IN FEBRUARY never reaches its peak. The main actors: Stevens, Cooper and Browning, never fulfil their potential. The problem is a storyline stripped down to being about a pre-war love triangle where it’s scathingly obvious what will happen. The three actors are good and they know they’re good, we know they’re good, and individually they’re great, but in this they’re mediocre. Sadly the plot (or lack of) holds them back.

It’s a half decent effort and understandable why Cooper and Stevens decided to commit, particularly Stevens who helped produce the film and has a personal connection to SUMMER IN FEBRUARY’s writer. It’s the three main actors who carry the film for the most part, which plateaus through the middle but perks up towards the end with a slightly quicker pace. However, a love triangle that involves an artist and is set in Cornwall? All a little too bohemian for me.

Two Stars

SUMMER IN FEBRUARY is released on DVD in the UK on 14th October