- Director:Michael Winterbottom
- Cast:Hope Davis, Colin Firth, Perla Haney-Jardine, Willa Holland, Catherine Keener
- Release Date:November 05, 2009
- Running time:94 minutes
- Film Worth:$10.50
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
A brooding drama about grief, which is greatly aided by the performances and its scenic locations.
With Genova, director Michael Winterbottom continues his current fascination with grief, displacement and trauma, but moves away from the political storylines of A Mighty Heart and The Road To Guantanamo and into the psychological realm. This time round, Winterbottom has made a quiet, poignant drama about a family coming to terms with loss in a foreign city.
Five months after the death of his wife in a car accident, university lecturer Joe (Colin Firth) decides to move from his home in the US to teach in Genova, Italy, taking with him his two daughters: sixteen-year-old Kelly (Willa Holland) and the much younger Mary (Perla Haney-Jardine). All three of them are still in emotional limbo after their mother's death, and the film follows each one as they fumble their way into a new life. Joe begins teaching at the local university, and rekindles an old friendship with former colleague Barbara (Catherine Keener), while Kelly immerses herself in casual relationships with local boys. Mary, who is the most traumatised of the three and blames herself for her mother's death, begins to have visions of her mother (Hope Davis) wandering the streets of Genova, and becomes obsessed with following her and gaining forgiveness.
The beauty of Genova is in its silences. Many things go unsaid in Winterbottom's script (co-written with Laurence Coriat), which is sparse (and predictable) enough to warrant frustration, but this allows the characters to loom large on the screen. Firth is effortlessly effective as the shy, stoic father who desperately wants to heal his children, and Holland and Haney-Jardine are both terrific, perfectly encapsulating the intimacy and cruelty that occurs between young siblings. Genova, meanwhile, is as much a character as the family members in the film, with Winterbottom conveying unease and tension in both the city's labyrinthine alleyways and its glittering coastline.