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Summer in February


Stars: Dominic Cooper, Emily Browning, Dan Stevens, Hattie Morhan, Shaun Dingwall, Mia Austen, Nicholas Farrell, Michael Maloney, Max Deacon

Director: Christopher Menaul

Picturesquely set on the windswept Cornish coast, and dreamily scored by Benjamin Wallfisch, this study of a colony of artists in 1913/14, living free to say and do what they like, starts well, but descends into a dreadfully boring romantic triangle, involving the charismatic, hard-living A J Munnings (Cooper), already a distinguished painter of horses, army officer Gilbert Evans (a very inauspicious film debut for Downton's Stevens) and the newly-arrived, mentally dodgy Florence (Browning), who has soon replaced the buxom Dolly (Austen) as Munnings' favourite model.

Stevens and Browning (who has a bewilderingly gratuitous nude scene) must be one of the dullest pairs of star-crossed lovers on record, even in this kind of period fluff. She agrees to marry Munnings, much to Gilbert's moist-eyed chagrin, but there's a tiff over Munnings' pursuits of other women and Florence swallows cyanide.

Unfortunately for us and the drama, she survives, and the wretched woman even draws back from throwing herself off a cliff, before a drink-fuelled Munnings justifiably calls her a whore after she and Gilbert have at last become lovers.

Brooding, heavy and with all the pace of an artist's brush, the film earns kudos for its technical departments but little else.

David Quinlan

UK 2013. UK Distributor: Metrodome. Technicolor.
100 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 09 Jun 2013