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Genova (2008) HD online

Genova (2008) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Drama / Mystery / Romance
Original Title: Genova
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Writers: Laurence Coriat,Michael Winterbottom
Released: 2008
Duration: 1h 33min
Video type: Movie
How do children respond to tragedy? On an icy road near Chicago, Marianne dies in a crash, leaving Joe and their daughters, Kelly, about 16, and Mary, about 9. That summer, a friend from Joe's graduate student days, 20 years before, arranges a teaching job for him in Genoa. When they arrive in June, Joe starts teaching and the girls have the summer before school starts: Kelly quickly falls in with youths her age; their club and beach life leads to sexual awakening. Mary, burdened by guilt for her mother's death, is solitary. The girls take piano lessons, Mary draws, and she also sees and talks to her mother. Joe asks them, "Are you okay?", but is that enough?


Cast overview, first billed only:
Colin Firth Colin Firth - Joe
Perla Haney-Jardine Perla Haney-Jardine - Mary
Willa Holland Willa Holland - Kelly
Catherine Keener Catherine Keener - Barbara
Hope Davis Hope Davis - Marianne
Margherita Romeo Margherita Romeo - Rosa
Alessandro Giuggioli Alessandro Giuggioli - Lorenzo
Dante Ciari Dante Ciari - Fabio
Gherardo Crucitti Gherardo Crucitti - Gerry
Monica Bennati Monica Bennati - Monica
Angelica Moretti Angelica Moretti - Angelica
Carlo Moretti Carlo Moretti - Carlo
Sara Stewart Sara Stewart - Susanna
James Laurenson James Laurenson - Marianne's Father
Gary Wilmes Gary Wilmes - Danny

The piece of music Kelly plays on the piano for her father and Barbara is "Étude no. 3 in E major, Op. 10, no. 3 - Tristesse" by Frédéric Chopin.

The sonnet being studied, which begins "When forty winters shall besiege thy brow / And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field", is Sonnet 2 by William Shakespeare.

Reviews: [25]

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    I was taken by the melancholy and the beauty of the film and if this wasn't enough, Colin Firth's performance! His best since "Apartment Zero" and that is saying something. Not a single false move in a film that could very easily become a simple tearjerker. Colin as a dad who takes care of his young daughters after the tragic death of his wife is simply extraordinary. The humanity of his character, flaws and all, is immediately recognisable. The film is filled with an emotional form of suspense that makes the experience utterly unnerving at times. Genova, the city, is photographed with real gusto. The narrow "vicoli" create a sense of dislocation that underlines in the most poetic way the new roads that Colin and his daughters are, not merely finding, but forging for themselves. A delightful surprise.
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    Colin Firth plays an English lecturer working in the United States. His wife dies in a car crash, and Firth has to look after his two daughters - one a typically sulky and vacuous teenager, the other a girl of 11 or 12 who blames herself for the car accident, and begins to imagine her mother is appearing in her bedroom and talking to her. Firth decides to teach in Genova for a year, and takes the girls with him. The teenager smokes dope (she was doing the same at her mother's funeral reception) and the younger girl continues seeing her dead mother.

    Everything in this film is very low key and measured, and there's nothing in it that rebels against common sense, nothing that seems beyond the realms of ordinary human life. The description given by my cable provider called it a 'supernatural drama,' but that it isn't. When the characters begin to wander around the maze of Genoan alleys, getting lost, I feared that the film might turn into a dreadful rehash of 'Don't Look Now,' but luckily no. The teenage girl resents her father's attempt to know where she goes (and who with) every hour of the day. The younger girl is more interesting as a character, and her portrayal of grief is quite moving.

    Firth is excellent here, and he acts his part by apparently doing very little. This is exactly the right way of approaching one's part in rather slight 'slice of real life' material like this. If you're expecting 'supernatural' garbage like 'In Dreams' or 'Half Light,' you'll be sadly disappointed. But if you want thoughtful and humane drama, this is for you.
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    Genova is an incisively directed, beautifully lit, and exquisitely acted film that quickly moved into my top five all-time favorites list. A family suffering the sudden death of a beloved mother takes a journey to Genova, ostensibly to get away from their sadness and heal from their grief, and that is exactly what happens. But it is for you, the viewer, to grasp the metaphors of the maze-like streets of the city, the spirit of the mother who lingers, and the beautiful frescoes that reveal different aspects with each viewing.

    I won't give away the ending - it's not obvious, only subtly powerful. But I will say that the grieving survivors act the way any of us would in such circumstances - we get on with our day to day lives, all the while trying to figure out what has happened to us and find meaning in it. Through it all we experience fear, guilt, avoidance, anger, confusion and loneliness. We hold onto memories, good and bad. We sometimes cling to each other and sometimes reject offers of comfort so we can work out our grief in the best way we know and survive the process. We end up different, still imperfect, but we heal and move along on our life path. If you are looking for an obvious plot, and someone to spoon feed you the meaning of this film, don't bother - you won't like it. If you have ever experienced sudden grief, you will understand it easily.

    Colin Firth gives one of his best performances in this film. He has a generous way, in his serious roles, of portraying just enough knowledge of his characters to draw the viewer in and allow us to invest a lot of our own emotions into the progress of the character and his eventual outcome. That's Firth's great talent which is missed my so many who would rather have it all explained to them. I prefer the small space that Firth beckons us to enter. I watch this film often, and he and Winterbottom show me a new level, a new meaning, a new view of life's frescoes each time I see it.
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    Michael Winterbottom is a director that never sticks to one genre and never compromises his vision. From the well-received music bio-pic 24 Hour Party People, to a meta-comedy in A Cock and Bull Story, to a sexually graphic concert narrative in 9 Songs, to the story of Daniel Pearl's murder in the Middle East with A Mighty Heart, he won't shy from controversial subject matter. That makes his new film, Genova, that much more interesting because it is on all accounts a very safe and simple tale when compared to the others. There really isn't anything he is trying to say here, just him telling a story about how a family deals with the loss of their wife/mother. Joe, Mary, and Kelly all feel the death strongly and cope in different ways. Eventually moving to Italy, Joe hopes the change of scenery will help them move on with their lives. Sometimes, though, especially when dealing with a tragedy as they are, it is not that simple.

    Colin Firth plays Joe with a wonderful sense of restraint. He is saddened by the turn of events, but knows he must stay strong for his two daughters, especially Mary who holds herself responsible for her mother's death. Reconnecting with an old friend from college, Catherine Keener, he discovers a job opening teaching at a college in Genova, Italy. With this guide helping him along, he decides to take the girls with him and hope a little European air will alleviate some of the pain of the past, a way to look towards the future. The locale is an interesting one, though, always seeming somewhat shady yet affluent at the same time. The beach is definitely a plus for the girls, but the long walks through strange neighborhoods, not knowing the language, is intimidating to say the least.

    Joe finds that he isn't quite sure what he wants. He knows that Keener's character is there for him, seemingly to us that she wants a relationship, and also meets a student that appears interested as well. This possibility of a young affair strikes him as exciting and while beginning rather innocently, soon escalates to the point where he goes on a date, leaving his older daughter alone to watch her sister. A dangerous prospect for sure, especially knowing what the audience does about the volatile relationship the two have. Mary blames herself for their mother's death and Kelly is not one to correct her; she feels the only reason they are where they are is due to her sister.

    Over the course of the story, Kelly, played by Willa Holland, descends into a circle of people who stay out late, do drugs, and party. Being made to move against her will, she decides to rebel a bit, finding a local boy to become her lover and pretty much be a selfish brat while the rest of the family mourns. Rather than join them, Kelly feels all she needs is to forget about the whole ordeal, have fun and not think about it. This detachment to the family doesn't make life easier for Mary, a great performance by Perla Haney-Jardine, as she has no one to talk to. Her father is working and dating and her sister abandons her at piano lessons in order to continue her sexual escapades, using threats to keep it secret from their father. The only person she has to talk with is her deceased mother for whom she begins seeing. This ghost leads Mary around Genova, causing trouble and scares along the way, but also conveniently allowing for circumstances to come up, those that have the potential to mend all the broken fences.

    It is this fact that bothered me about the film. At its core is a very emotive tale of loss, coping, and redemption, but while the beginning two thirds portray this, the final act decides to tie all loose ends up as easily as possible, sending young Mary on a journey with her dead mother, carefully orchestrated to make the rest of the characters come find her. The writing is on the wall throughout, you feel it's just a matter of time before Kelly's new friends show they aren't as great as she thinks, the genial bond between Keener and Firth becomes strained, and the father slowly drifts from his daughters, unaware what's going on with them because he is too busy trying to get over his own grief. Some of the best scenes come when Firth enters Haney-Jardine's room to console her after a nightmare or vision ends with her mother leaving once again. It is heartbreaking to watch at times, however, the way it all comes together subverts that power, showing how manufactured scripts can be. I understand the desire for cyclical narratives, starting the film with a car crash and ending it with one, but stuff like that is so obvious that the artifice takes you away from the craft on screen. The acting and characters are all fully fleshed-out beings—truly remarkable across the board—it is just a shame that the story doesn't stay as consistent as them, to allow for a profound conclusion rather than the easy one laid before us.
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    This is one of those films the British Lottery Fund wastes its money on. The main problem is a rambling script which gets nowhere. The characters are not interesting, the story is conventional and insipid, the only thing of interest is the location: the city of Genoa (Genova in Italian). Having only a superficial acquaintance with Genoa, I had no idea of the intricate alleyways of its Old Town, and that the city was so interesting. I had thought Genoa was dull. I am delighted to say that I have been proved wrong. So from the travelogue point of view, this film has interest. The film contains one splendid performance, by a little girl named Perla Haney-Jardine. She has already made seven films despite being only 12, so she seems determined upon a career as an actress, and judging by her performance in this film, she should go far, as she is a natural and has a great deal of talent. Colin Firth, a reliable and professional actor, was on hand for the filming and when asked to be earnest, he was earnest, and when asked to be anguished, he was anguished. But somebody forgot to give him any worthwhile dialogue. The script is a total shambles. Catherine Keener does exceptionally well in a supporting role, and showing sympathy comes naturally to her, so that everybody would like to have her around (I would like to tell her every time I feel a cold coming on, as I know she would get me a soothing hot drink). So there we have it: Genoa's fascinating narrow alleys, an interesting little girl, and a sympathetic woman. Forget the rest. The older sister played by Willa Holland is such a disgusting character that the fact that the young actress does a good job of being repellent is not exactly the kind of acting tribute she would like to hear, I suspect. The notion that this family go off to Genoa to forget the unfortunate death of the mother is so trite that if we have another film like that, all dead mothers have a right to complain at being exploited. If Michael Winterbottom wanted to make a film about how interesting the old portion of Genoa is, why didn't he just go to the BBC and say he wanted to make a travel film with some mindless celebrity presenter? Why waste money on a feature film which is nothing but a vanity project of idle and meandering vacuity?
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    In the UK, this movie was pitched as a fairly upbeat take on a family's recovery from the sudden death of the mother. Instead it is a painful and ultimately touching exploration of the strategies people use for coping with grief, loss and intense guilt.

    Unlike other people who have left comments on IMDb, I found this a tense, gripping film. There may be little in the way of physical action but this is because the entire drama is played out at a psychological level. The youngest daughter is overwhelmed with guilt and self-loathing at having inadvertently caused her mother's death. The oldest daughter's fury at her sister over the death leads her to reject the younger girl through increasingly cruel behaviour, while her own grief leads her into ever-more dangerous situations. The father is so wrapped up in his own pain that he is unable to communicate with his daughters, missing all the clear warning signs of trouble despite his clear love for them.

    This film is one of the most touching and true-to-life portrayals of bereavement I have seen. It is extremely understated but that makes it all the more powerful as it feels so real. The dramas are the small dramas of everyday life - a teenage girl staying out beyond curfew, a young girl missing for a few hours, a man's meaningless flirtation with a younger woman. As in real life, these feel tremendously important when they happen but generally mean nothing and have no lasting effects. Although these small dramas usually lead nowhere, Winterbottom builds them up to reflect the magnitude of feelings inside his characters.

    I can see why people might find this film slow-paced but for me this was not the case. The psychological drama and pain of the characters more than compensated for the lack of physical action - and it was flawlessly acted. If you are interested in human relations, particularly family relations and grief, this is well worth seeing.
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    I have to say that this film engaged me completely. I could feel deeply for all the characters. I loved it and can't wait to see it again. Of course if you want a plot, action and a resolution you won't find it here. But there is room for many different kinds of films for different tastes. It was not so much a story as a picture of a family having to cope with the aftermath of the tragic death of their wife/mother. Any neat resolution would have been unrealistic. The fact that it showed domestic scenes was the whole point really. Everyday life has to go on, despite the pain of loss. The city of Genoa, with its maze of alleys and slightly threatening feel, as well as its beauty, was a perfect backdrop, to a family emotionally adrift and lost, trying to find a way through their loss to some kind of normal life.I thought all the actors did a marvellous job, and were totally convincing in the way they related to each other and reacted to their situation. This was a perfect role for Colin Firth. He is able to convey so much emotionally, with great restraint and delicacy of touch.
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    I'm afraid I join the line of people, admittedly quite short, reading the other reviews, who found this movie a waste of my DVD-rental money. Yes, there was tension in wondering if anything would happen to the children whilst wandering around Genoa and, yes, I liked the way in which Michael Winterbottom portrayed the narrow alleyways of that city in the manner of Nicholas Roeg portraying Venice in "Don't Look Now", but that was about it. Unlike other reviewers on IMDb who found it a fine exploration of reaction to grief, I didn't get that feeling from Colin Firth as Joe, nor from his elder daughter Kelly, only from younger daughter Mary. I did hope that her visions of her mother might lead somewhere but, alas, they didn't. Kelly did explode at one point at Mary about how the latter had messed up Kelly's life for the role Mary had played in the death of their mother but by then, it was too late. Perhaps the allusion to "Don't look now" led me to expect something to happen, but nothing ever does. In that respect it joins "Lost in translation" in the list of lauded movies where nothing happens. It stands on a rung above movies where you wonder why well-known actors got involved in the project (To pay the children's'/grandchildrens' school fees?) but this movie is not that much further up the ladder.

    "Is that it?" is what my wife and I said to each other as the credits rolled and that is my summary of this movie.
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    This movie was way to slow for me.

    I had to watch it twice to get through it.

    I can't blame the acting - I feel all of the cast did a good job with what they had. The cinematography was impressive - all the narrow, tall alley shots made me feel like I was there. The story to me was just lacking.

    I think I understand the message they were trying to get across - a family coming to terms with the accidental death of their mother/wife - a realistic story. But this family was not really much more interesting than my next door neighbor. It was just too common place.

    I spent the movie waiting for something to happen - and it never did. Even the inclusion of the supernatural twist of the mother's ghost seemed not to add to the story at all.

    The basics of a story that you expect to find in a movie were missing. There was no rising action, every part of the movie was just another day. Some conflict between the characters did occur but was built up so slowly and it hadn't really reached a high enough point by the time the climax happened.

    When the climax did happened I was wondering "was that it?". It was somewhat more exciting than the rest of the movie but a far cry from what a climax should be.

    The resolution seemed totally missing to me. I suppose we can assume that after the bland climax some of the conflict between the characters was resolved but I really don't think the incident was major enough to have caused that much of an effect on the characters past a day or two. Or perhaps we aren't supposed to assume anything was really resolved and that we just saw a short period of time of this very dull family and it will continue on the same once we're finished watching.

    Overall, not a terrible movie but one they could have done much more with.
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    When I first heard about this movie I got very excited: it doesn't happen every day to have a little city like Genova featuring in an international production, and, as a resident of this very city, I felt the right to boast a slight sense of revenge against other, more celebrated, Italian cities (to put things in perspective, Genova is often overlooked by Italian medias and by the powers that be, despite having the second biggest and busiest harbour in Europe). This until I actually managed to watch the movie. Just to avoid this post to become an unmitigated rant, I have to say that the movie itself it's not half bad...but when you name your work after a city, you're at least expected to have a faint grasp on what the whole place is about. Instead we get a trite bunch of clichés about Italy: tanned guys teasing young girls while zooming along on mopeds - people here, both old and young,barely acknowledge your presence until you bump into them - ...then the same guys roaming through the city in a huge, motorcycle-mounted pack... - never seen anything like that -...and then a little bit more of the same guys goofing on the beach... It looks like the director had spent three months in Rome or Naples before he decided to have a slightly left field take on it and to choose a less renowned city as a setting for his work, maybe to appeal to the more "indie"-oriented part of the audience. Pity he didn't manage to get anything out of the place's soul: some really awful Italians B-movies from the 70s give you a fairer rendition of the city than this movie could ever dream of. Anyway, I wouldn't be so riled about that if it wasn't for the director waxing lyrical, in interviews with local newspapers, about how much he loved the city and how he succeeded in transposing its heart and soul on the screen. Again, not a bad a film, but you could have it called with any generic Mediterranean city name and nobody would notice!
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    A constant state of anxiety makes this a difficult film to watch; it communicates the anxieties of a parent for the well-being of their children very powerfully. Will they get lost? Will they get run over? Will they drown? Achingly terrible fears arise out of the most mundane circumstances. The acting is fabulous and the city, itself, is beautifully filmed, so that it becomes integral to the feelings that are created. The family relationships are truthfully portrayed and the effects of grief, expereinced in different ways by each of them, is beautifully explored without a hint of sentimentality. This is a true gem of a movie.
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    The storyline is illogical. Who would take their children, after the trauma of losing their mother, to a centuries-old Italian city where they don't know the language, they know no-one, everything is foreign to them. The inter-relationships completely feel dysfunctional. The father is utterly ineffectual in nurturing his children. His children are having serious difficulties and he is clueless. If the purpose of placing the story in Genova was to give a metaphorical backdrop to the character's suffering then I don't accept it. That is how the movie feels - as if getting lost in a moldy old Italian city is how it feels to lose one's mother. It is bullshit. I found the movie painful to watch because the father is pathetic and clueless and the story illogical. No one would take their children to a shitty old Italian city after losing their mother.
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    Two girls kill their mother when they place their hands over her eyes while she's driving on a highway. They were playing a game, not homicide, but such stupid destructive behavior amounts to involuntary manslaughter in my opinion; not cute.

    This is, all the same, a beautiful movie to watch; primarily for the scenes in Italy as well as the ample supply of pretty legs. The filmmaker has gone for authentic dialog. ad-lib style; but the reason I score this movie as a "5" is because it lacks focus or viewpoint. By giving us 6 characters always in scatter-shot style, there is not much focus on plot or character development. No reason to like or dislike any of them.

    The older daughter meets a guy and finds passion. The younger one does not (too young) and the father attracts a possible new wife. No one's character develops, nothing much happens (besides eating spaghetti) and after 90 minutes, for no other reason, the movie ends. FIN
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    Genova opens up with a stark and confronting series of images; contrasted against the seemingly whimsy and light-hearted cold-opening, there comes a shocking and hard-hitting turn of events that serves as the catalyst for the ninety minutes that follow. Stricken by a tragedy to which a mother's two daughters are direct witness to, the tale of Genova is a harrowing but sincere and tangible piece. This somewhat bittersweet mixture of hope disquieted by despair and a sense of chaos and danger are prevalent to the entirety of Genova's story; it's an uplifting document infused with genuine pathos and touching degrees of catharsis that implement both character and themes of family, bonds and loss to establish what is for the most part a very coherent and sober character analysis.

    In juxtaposition to the darker, more morbid themes inherent to the screenplay however is also a firm sense of hope and romanticism. Set against the backdrop of the beautiful city of Genoa in Italy, daughters Mary (Perla Haney-Jardine) and Kelly (Willa Holland) along with their widower father Joe (Colin Firth) set about making a new start away from the despair from their collective past. This of course allows both older sister Kelly and Joe to seek out relationships that serve as a way to lightly distract from the misfortune involving their mother and wife, and in turn allows Genova to shed a lighter, more hopeful melody. Yet such moments are certainly not without their stark reminders as to what these characters are inevitably running from. Within the character of Mary who is the younger of the sisters lies the most unsettling and reaffirming reminder of the accident. Unable to move on quite as readily as her father and sister, Mary begins seeing visions of her mother which usually results in her screaming in the middle of the night when her "ghost"—or memory—disappears.

    This sense of claustrophobia is further explored through a variety of sequences, some of which are undoubtedly overdone and overexposed throughout the ninety minute runtime—yet they nevertheless serve an important purpose. Given that the story of Genova is largely character based, there is always cause for concern that the heavy-handed material and themes inherent to such analysis will lead to a slow-moving narrative serving only to alienate viewers. This is where director Michael Winterbottom's undertones of danger and ominous uncertainty helps create a much more flowing and engaging piece. While it could be argued that Winterbottom perhaps spoils the integrity of his film by resorting to such moments on more than a few occasions in what is a relatively short film; the vast majority works well with the more romanticised, sombre and restrained aspects of the feature to reflect the melancholic nature of the script.

    What serves as the central component to Genova's story however, is undoubtedly its greatest attribute. Through the characters of Mary, Kelly, Joe and Joe's old-flame Barbara (Catherine Keener), key themes of family, strength through loss, and moving on after death can truly shine. Particularly engaging here is the combination of Firth with young actress Perla Haney-Jardine who shares a compelling and always tangible relationship as father and daughter that feels natural and sweet. Firth, who has up until now proved himself one of this country's finest and most mature of thespians, again delivers a performance that establishes a fine balance between remaining natural and yet always bursting with screen-presence and charisma. The same of course can be said with the remainder of the cast, with particular attention to Haney-Jardine who shows that even actors of her age group can succeed in delivering intelligent and emotionally resonant characters.

    Performances aside however, Genova nevertheless succeeds because of the characters it offers those actors which in the end decide whether the movie will live or die in the eyes of audiences. Winterbottom here crafts an unassuming and disquieted feature that will no doubt fail to grasp the attention of some because of its slow-moving, almost non-existent plot—but for fans of intricate but not overly sentimental character drama, the majority of Genova will do little wrong. If there is one failing to the production it would be that despite the already short runtime, the feature as a whole feels too much for what should naturally be a much shorter and more concise story. Nevertheless, with strong compelling characters and a tale that always engages through those characters, Genova is a pleasant and touching journey of discovery that always feel human and genuinely invested in detailing one of the hardest parts of life through death itself.

    • A review by Jamie Robert Ward (
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    Without reiterating what was said above about this movie, I would like to add that I was looking forward to watching this film...the cast/location and the work of the excellent director Michael Winterbottom etc...It had a vague shadow of 'Don't look Now' about the storyline from the beginning. A stay in different surroundings (Italy again) to dim the heartbreak of loss...or perhaps that's how I saw it? So consequently I sat there waiting for the story to unfold and put a spin on what we expect to happen to this family in a foreign European country....and I sat there and sat there....and guess what? nothing actually happens! and I mean nothing!! You are not even given the chance to get into the characters as they are so 1 dimensional and vacuous..You are led to believe from the pace of the movie that something was going to happen to turn the whole film on it's head...The eldest daughters flirtation with the local vespa boys, had great scope to take the movie in another direction, the youngest daughters visions of her dead mother ended up being a fruitless and pointless exercise, the fathers attempts at being seduced by one of his female students felt ridiculous given his age. It felt as if the script had a last recall made where they decided at the last minute to eradicated any guts to the story and went for paring it down to a bare minimum to no effect. When the credits started to roll (unexpectedly) you can't help but feel robbed of your time spent sat watching this pile of rubbish.
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    I gave this move a try b/c of Colin Firth who is one of my favourite actors. But what a huge disappointment. I knew this movie would be melancholy and not have a lot of action, but this has got to be one of the most boring movies I have ever watched. Not only is there no plot, I don't think the movie even attempts to have a meaningful message. I didn't care at all about the characters. The movie basically takes you through the day to day life of the family after they move to Genoa. And it basically goes nowhere. The ending looks like they just ran out of time and decided to end it where they did.

    That it takes place in Italy was another reason I gave it a viewing, but if that is how truly bleak Genoa is, it won't be on any of my future travel plans. In summary, that is 1 and a half hours of my life that I will never get back. Use yours more wisely and skip this meaningless movie....
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    Why on earth is Colin Firth in this pointless film? Has he really been that strapped for cash?

    The film isn't clear on what it wants to be about, grief?, exotic places?, ghosts?, a vehicle for Mr Darcy? It's a muddled, muddy mess.

    There seems to be some sort of idea that Italy must be good, in itself, and that Italian has something to offer as a language - but in the end the girls just want to go back to yankland.

    There are pointless episodes on the beach, in churches, on busy roads - but what it is all about, or why anybody should care simply isn't clear.

    There was also a yank woman in the film. It wasn't clear what here job was, but she seemed only to be there to make vapid, inappropriate and maudlin comments to the girl. Was it supposed to be about paedophillia??

    A pretty dreadful mess, all in all. I gave it 2 rather than 1 because it doesn't have the charm of an utterly ghastly film.
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    We are taken to a witness a mother and two daughters taking a ride in a winter landscape. Kelly and Mary are playing a game by closing their eyes and trying to guessing the color of the car coming in the opposite direction, while Maryanne drives. Kelly, the eldest, has a knack for being right all the time, but Mary is mostly wrong. Mary distracts her mother for a moment resulting in an accident in which the mother dies.

    The grieving husband, Joe, a university professor, decides to leave Chicago behind in favor of a year in Genoa, where his friend, Barbara, is teaching. The change of scenery proves to be a momentary distraction for the family. Mary has a problem adapting to the new surroundings as well as to the loss of her mother. In part, she feels responsible for the accident. Kelly, on the other hand, falls right in a youthful crowd, quite a contrast from her life back in America.

    Director Michael Winterbottom, working on the material he created with Laurent Coriat, gives us a tour of the old city of Genoa, full of mystery and dark alleys. The film is lovely to watch, but when it ends, one cannot help thinking whether one was taken for a ride. Nothing much happens in this picture that focuses basically on the two girls and how they perceive their new life. Joe's character is just an afterthought.

    Colin Firth is a good actor; he will always enhance the material he is asked to portray, but in this film, he shows nothing of interest. Catherine Keener does not fare much better. Lovely Hope Davis stays not too long for us to enjoy her presence. Perla Haney-Jardine, seen as Mary is about the best thing in the movie. Willa Holland, who plays Kelly is lovely to look at, but she does nothing with her character that moves the viewer.

    The city of Genoa is photographed with love by cinematographer Marcel Zyskind. The musical score is by Melissa Parmenter.
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    I worked with Michael Winterbottom once on The Claim and did not like his directing style but I was crew, not talent so he had no impact on my job. However, I have watched a few of his films since then, and his style did not get any better from the other side of the lens. This film was very slow paced and I did not feel drawn into the story by the story , if you get my drift. The talent did a fine job with the script but it was a lacklustre script and a boring storyline. The film was called A Summer In Genoa when it came out on rental and was rented as it had Colin Firth in it, always a fine actor and well worth watching.

    I will careful check future films for Winterbottoms name and avoid them at all cost.
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    Colin Firth has made a pretty good career of losing his spouse in the movies. Perhaps no other actor does damp eyed resignation better. This time he's a college professor whose wife dies in a tragic accident leaving him with two daughters, one crippled by the knowledge that she caused the accident. The older one seems to be auditioning for the lead role in the remake of Lolita. Turns out the dead wife is the lucky one as she only has to appear as a ghost in a couple of more scenes in this pointless, incomprehensible, nihilistic, and uttering boring movie.

    Mom's also pretty angry about the funeral which looks more like your typical faculty party. No one seems very sad and the kids are all outside smoking pot. The rest of the movie consists of wistful sighs, a commercial for RyanAir, furtive sidelong glances, scooter rides accompanied by bad Euro Trash music and lots of cigarettes. Does the British Lottery not have better things to do with their money? Are there no war veterans who need prosthetic limbs?
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    Had I been in some kind of stupor when I watched this film I could easily have been forgiven for thinking I had been invited to Mr. Winterbottom's home to watch his family holiday film while on holiday in Genova. Had this been the case I would have been looking for a cat to stroke withing the first fifteen minutes. Well..that's what I normally do when I am subjected to total boredom. I would have then sipped the remains of my drink and made a polite exit.

    This film is mind numbingly boring. Straight away you see a flight from Chicago to Genova via RyanAir. Since when did RyanAir fly from Chicago? Oops sponsorship! As for the film proper. Not much to say really. Shot on a cheap camera with cheap sound it centres around beach shots, shopping shots, lots and lots of alleyway shots. numerous shots of people on scooters, a car collision which looked like it had been done by retired stunt men, a few shots about candles being lit and nice cuddly family scenes. Add a little Italian into the stew and that's it.

    Ignore any pretencion about sub-plots. There aren't any. There is no drama. It's a film that goes nowhere because it doesn't have a starting point. It could have been made by a group of students on their first year film course.

    Next time I watch a film about Italy or based around Italy I shall make sure it has the stamp of an Italian director. Mr. Winterbottom has now entered my 'Must Avoid' list.

    Truly awful. Minus 10

    Now where's my cat?
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    After a car-crash results in a death, the widower and his two daughters move to the city of Genova in Italy to escape the sorrow that haunts their life. As each of them comes to terms with the loss and the new beginning in their own way, the director of the movie takes a turn to show us how the three-way relationship adjusts rather than concentrating on each character's development. The younger daughter's night-time crying becomes something for the father to handle. The new sense of rebellious freedom in the elder daughter is more seen from the younger sister and her dad's POVs. But without getting too dramatic or philosophical, or without even getting too close to the characters, the movie remains an outside view of the small family in somewhat distant, documenting way.

    My Rating --> 3 of 5
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    This film is about a family trying to come to terms with the death of the mother/wife by moving to Genova, Italy.

    The plot of "Genova" sounds promising, but unfortunately it is empty and without focus. The film only consists of a collection of scenes depicting the daily life of the family, such as swimming, taking piano lessons or cooking eggs. Most of such scenes are redundant and tiresome, completely failing to engage viewers emotionally. The ending is very disappointing as it is not spectacular, moving or emotional. I can safely say that I am disappointed and bored by "Genova" The only thing good about the film is the sunny weather and the beauty of Genova. "Genova" can serve as an extended tourism advertisement for the city, but not as a film to be enjoyed.
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    Unquestionably one of the very worst movies I've ever seen. I must be candid though - I'm pretty quick at tapping the stop button on movies I consider junk. But the storyline got me in - the fact there was none!! I stuck it out thinking that at some stage something interesting was sure to happen - it didn't. (I'm still annoyed with myself that I wasted such a significant portion of my life to this movie!) After yet another boring irrelevant scene it went to the credits. I thought I must of missed something - I rewound - missed something? I hadn't. Nothing wrong with the acting - just bloody awful story. Like watching a normal family - BORING!!!
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    On the message board for 'Genova' I had read commentaries ranging from "mindnumbingly dull" to "exquisite and poignant" so I really was not sure what to expect when I went to see it. Back from the cinema after just having seen it I have to say I am somewhere in the middle and leaning towards the latter.

    I can see why some feel it is plot less but it did not feel that way to me. This is not a movie that has a specific beginning and ending, it is more a "chapter in the life of..." movie which I can handle quite well from time to time. But if you are not a fan of that Mediterranean movie tradition then you should stay away from this one.

    It has to be said that the acting in 'Genova' was absolutely spot on - so much so that it felt to me like Michael Winterbottom, accidentally equipped with a camera, somehow landed near this bereaved family and decided to film what he saw happening around him. It is all so natural - real persons with real emotions. I take my hat off to the youngest girl who really nailed her role. Coming from me that is praise indeed since generally I find (American) child actors annoying and fake. Colin Firth is great and I also absolutely loved Catherine Keener who never seems to have to make an effort; she is always terrific.

    Having said this I have to admit that I did not shed any tears, although usually I am quite the cry-baby when watching movies. I contribute this however to the fact that A) I am not a parent and B) I did not recently lose somebody very close to my heart. There is no doubt in my mind that had either one been the case, 'Genova' would have me sobbing uncontrollably for being so emotionally real.