Genova: Movie Review
Cast: Colin Firth, Hope Davis, Catherine Keener, Willa
Holland, Perla Haney-Jardine
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Genova stars Colin Firth as a professor whose life is turned upside down by
the death of his wife in a car accident.
But it's not just his life which is changed; his two daughters are deeply
traumatized by the incident as they were in the car at the time. The youngest,
Mary (Perla Haney-Jardine) was a prime factor in the crash and is struggling to
deal with the guilt, as well as being wracked by night terrors.
The eldest Kelly (Willa Holland) is bordering on her teen years and so with
these two in mind, Firth's Joe moves the pair of them to Genoa, Italy to try and
However, the move to Italy has different effects on all of them as Mary
begins to see her dead mother (an ethereal Hope Davis) and Kelly begins to
discover her sexuality.
Genova is an odd film; shot in hand held close ups in places and with
beautiful scenery, it is at times, a little too slow to get into. Granted, it's
supposed to be about the build up of the circumstance, but you don't quite know
what genre it's aiming for.
At times, it's a teen drama as the family begins to fall apart, but the
appearance of the mother appears to suggest a degree of ghost story. Sadly it
doesn't quite work as well as perhaps it should.
This is no reflection on the cast who carry the script well and the shots
inside Italys myriad mazes of streets do well to capture the claustrophobia of
parts of the city. However, it's the end of the film which just slaps across the
face. After a build up in the last 15 minutes, and a major incident involving
all three of the main protagonists, you're expecting to see some kind of closure
and resolution. But what you get is another scene on the end which doesn't
suggest there's any kind of end for any of them.
Whilst it's fair to say thats true of life, having invested 90 minutes into
these characters, it seems only reasonable to expect a little more.