After the death of his beloved in a car crash, Joe, a college professor decides to abandon his old lie and the painful memories it now holds and relocate himself and his two daughters to Genoa, where they begin to adapt to their new life.
After the death of his beloved in a car crash, Joe, a college professor decides to abandon his old lie and the painful memories it now holds and relocate himself and his two daughters to Genoa, where they begin to adapt to their new life. The elder daughter is 16 and so is inevitably taking an interest in the hot Italians she is constantly meeting, falling for a teenaged boy with whom she starts making secret arrangements behind her father’s back. The younger daughter, only 10 stays close to her father, having difficulty in coming to terms with her mother’s death as she was a passenger in the car and feels responsible for the accident.
When Joe hooks up with an old flame from Harvard,. Family life becomes complicated as in her attempts to support him, she crosses the line between being a family friend and an intrusive presence. He is also shocked when one of his students, a fiery Italian girl makes is clear that she is also interested in the older man. Everything comes to a crisis point when the professor makes a date with the younger woman, the eldest daughter ahs a screaming row with her boyfriend and the youngest ends up following the ghost of her dead mother and causing another car crash. It’s all like something out of “Don’t look now” though never as beautifully shot.
Michael Winterbottom, best known for “24 Hour party people” and “A cock and bull story” is on fine directorial form once again and is an interesting choice for a director who usually produces films that deal with social issues or taboos, while this is a gentle and moving character piece, simply dealing with loss and how to survive it. Colin firth is excellent, playing Joe as restrained yet brittle, feeling the need to be strong for his daughters but crumbling inside and Willa Holland as the eldest daughter Kelly and Perla Haley Jardina as Mary are exceptional, especially Jardine who brings to life the torture that Mary faces, martyred d by her own gilt yet not at the stage of her life where she can really understand what has happened to the family. There’s a great sub plot between the two daughters showing that the elder does genuinely blame the younger for their mother’s death, piling on the emotional pressure to the younger sibling.
The location filming is beautiful and makes you want to visit the area and although the sub plot of the mother’s apparition is rather contrived in places, this is a great and sumptuously shot film. Rent it!