Blogs, Edge, Free Foreign Film Friday

‘Summer in February’ strays from genre, contains plot twists

Summer in February posterDan Stevens fans who are mourning his departure from “Downton Abbey” can find consolation in his role in  “Summer in February,” the new period drama playing in Cosford from Friday to Sunday.

Based on the novel by Jonathan Smith, the story paints a realistic portrait of the dangers of confusing love for an artist with love for his work. Set during the early 20th century in the artist community town of Cornwall, England, this story follows Florence (Emily Browning) as she tries to make a choice between long-time friends Gilbert (Dan Stevens) and AJ (Dominic Cooper). However, she soon realizes  she has less of a choice than she originally believed.

Despite what the sweet title may indicate, the film quickly departs from the Jane Austen and “Downton Abbey” pattern of British romantic drama, evolving into a study of love and a critique of its motivations. Elements that are uncommon in this genre make up the twists of this surprising narrative. An undelivered proposal, a sexual assault, and a poisoning attempt set the story apart from neatly planned period dramas.
Instead of romantically criticizing a woman for saying no, this film realistically examines what happens to a woman who says yes too lightly – and for the wrong reasons. It is difficult for a modern audience to imagine a time when marriage was of such great importance that women had to make decisions based on having a reliable future rather than on sentiment. It is even harder for us to imagine ignoring both reason and heart for fear of waiting too long and ending up with neither.

What makes the film timelessly relatable is the push and pull between the friends competing for a woman’s sentiments. It is not the first time that Dan Stevens’ upside-down, boyish smile competes with Dominic Cooper’s dark, insinuating eyebrows (see “Sense and Sensibility”). However, unlike their previous encounter, which ends in a happy rectangle, the love triangle in “Summer in February” is truer to life.
In keeping with the bittersweetness of the story and the duel between the two men, the English countryside displays the duality of harsh cold and peaceful oasis. In almost every scene, there is one frame that is set up like a painting, mirroring the film’s focus on painters.
Smith himself adapted the novel, which sets the story apart from many others. It is what gives it its integrity and realism.
“Do you know who you are deep down?” Florence asks herself at one point during the film. “I wish I did,” she responds. This moment mimics the sentiment of the movie, which asks provocative questions that are sometimes beyond comprehensible answers.


For More Information:

What: “Summer in February”
Where: Cosford Cinema
When: Friday to Sunday; 6:45 p.m. Friday; 3:15 p.m. Saturday; 7:15 p.m. Saturday; 5:30 p.m. Sunday
For more information, check out a full schedule at

January 26, 2014


Luisa Andonie

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

The name conjures images of tranquil waters, lush palm trees and cool breezes. The faces conjure ima ...

A heap of preseason accolades are being showered daily on the University of Miami football players. ...

James Jones, who starred at Hialeah American High School, the University of Miami and was a part of ...

A classic good news/bad news scenerio arose for Miami Hurricanes football at the recent Atlantic Coa ...

The University of Miami football players are not the only ones getting preseason accolades. The guys ...

Looking back on 15 years of the University of Miami Business Plan Competition, hosted by the School ...

Read the latest entries from UM students who are spending part or all of their summer visiting diffe ...

Value in the Era of Analytics ...

Summer Creative Writing Camp Inspires Young Writers to Release Their Emotions Onto the Page. ...

Gomez, an expert on human values and attitudes in post-Castro Cuba, will serve as interim director o ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.