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A Summer in Genoa (2008)

Genova (original title)
2:15 | Trailer
A man moves his two daughters to Italy after their mother dies in a car accident, in order to revitalize their lives. Genova changes all three of them as the youngest daughter starts to see the ghost of her mother, while the older one discovers her sexuality.


Laurence Coriat (screenplay), Michael Winterbottom (screenplay)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Colin Firth ... Joe
Perla Haney-Jardine ... Mary
Willa Holland ... Kelly
Catherine Keener ... Barbara
Hope Davis ... Marianne
Margherita Romeo Margherita Romeo ... Rosa
Alessandro Giuggioli ... Lorenzo
Dante Ciari Dante Ciari ... Fabio
Gherardo Crucitti Gherardo Crucitti ... Gerry
Monica Bennati Monica Bennati ... Monica
Angelica Moretti Angelica Moretti ... Angelica
Carlo Moretti Carlo Moretti ... Carlo
Sara Stewart ... Susanna
James Laurenson ... Marianne's Father
Gary Wilmes ... Danny


How do children respond to tragedy? On an icy road near Chicago, Marianne dies in a crash, leaving Joe and their daughters, Kelly, about 16, and Mary, about 9. That summer, a friend from Joe's graduate student days, 20 years before, arranges a teaching job for him in Genoa. When they arrive in June, Joe starts teaching and the girls have the summer before school starts: Kelly quickly falls in with youths her age; their club and beach life leads to sexual awakening. Mary, burdened by guilt for her mother's death, is solitary. The girls take piano lessons, Mary draws, and she also sees and talks to her mother. Joe asks them, "Are you okay?", but is that enough? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


We all need a place to start again.


Drama | Mystery | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexuality and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The piece of music Kelly plays on the piano for her father and Barbara is "Étude no. 3 in E major, Op. 10, no. 3 - Tristesse" by Frédéric Chopin. See more »


On their way from the airport, when they pass in the car in front of a fresco of Saint George fighting against the dragon, Ms. Keener says that Saint George is the Saint Patron of Genova. Now, it's true that Saint George has a strong link to the history of the city: the banner bears the cross of Saint George, in the middle ages the Bank which funded expeditions overseas (by the way it's the building that shows the fresco seen in the movie) was named after Saint George etc. but the Patron of Genova, since XIII century, is John the Baptist and he came to be after Genoese crusaders (First crusade) brought back from Holy Land his ashes, which are still kept in the Cathedral. See more »


Barbara: Mary, you've never been to Italy before, have you?
Mary: No.
Barbara: Do you like pasta?
Mary: Yeah.
Barbara: Do you like ice-cream? Then you'll be fine.
See more »

User Reviews

A rambling and pointless film, though pleasant to look at
24 October 2009 | by robert-temple-1See all my reviews

This is one of those films the British Lottery Fund wastes its money on. The main problem is a rambling script which gets nowhere. The characters are not interesting, the story is conventional and insipid, the only thing of interest is the location: the city of Genoa (Genova in Italian). Having only a superficial acquaintance with Genoa, I had no idea of the intricate alleyways of its Old Town, and that the city was so interesting. I had thought Genoa was dull. I am delighted to say that I have been proved wrong. So from the travelogue point of view, this film has interest. The film contains one splendid performance, by a little girl named Perla Haney-Jardine. She has already made seven films despite being only 12, so she seems determined upon a career as an actress, and judging by her performance in this film, she should go far, as she is a natural and has a great deal of talent. Colin Firth, a reliable and professional actor, was on hand for the filming and when asked to be earnest, he was earnest, and when asked to be anguished, he was anguished. But somebody forgot to give him any worthwhile dialogue. The script is a total shambles. Catherine Keener does exceptionally well in a supporting role, and showing sympathy comes naturally to her, so that everybody would like to have her around (I would like to tell her every time I feel a cold coming on, as I know she would get me a soothing hot drink). So there we have it: Genoa's fascinating narrow alleys, an interesting little girl, and a sympathetic woman. Forget the rest. The older sister played by Willa Holland is such a disgusting character that the fact that the young actress does a good job of being repellent is not exactly the kind of acting tribute she would like to hear, I suspect. The notion that this family go off to Genoa to forget the unfortunate death of the mother is so trite that if we have another film like that, all dead mothers have a right to complain at being exploited. If Michael Winterbottom wanted to make a film about how interesting the old portion of Genoa is, why didn't he just go to the BBC and say he wanted to make a travel film with some mindless celebrity presenter? Why waste money on a feature film which is nothing but a vanity project of idle and meandering vacuity?

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Official Sites:

Diaphana [France]


UK | Sweden | Cayman Islands


English | Italian

Release Date:

27 March 2009 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Summer in Genoa See more »

Filming Locations:

Italy See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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