Day 163: Summer in February (August, 19)

After 20 or 30 minutes into Summer in February, a example for one of the classes I've attended this week came to mind. Lecturing about meaning and enunciation, a teacher presented this  sentence: She was here. The point was that we can infer nothing from that. Of course, we always can imagine... but what someone is telling with this affirmative is unknown to us without a referential.

I felt just like that in this movie, until I paused it and decide to go to imdb to understand my bearings. There, I realized that the film is based on a book that, in turn, is based on the journals of Gilbert Evans depicting his relationship with British artists in Cornwall just before the WWI. Those are some of the famous  artists in England, and after reading this, I could understand the lack of a context here.

Some well known stories make bad adaptations in movies. It is not their fault, of course. For being popular, the screen writers seem to not be compelled to locate the viewer in the story - surely, everybody should know about that, right? Well, I didn't. So, the whole movie seemed tidbits of facts in the lives of a group of people that didn't make much sense to me until late in the movie. They were there, and that was it.

I only was able to elaborate better about this love triangle on the early 20th Century in the magical Cornwall when I read about it in the Internet. But that I have to resort to this kind of knowledge is terrible. The movie should have told  me all that and more, actually. There's something about telling the called "true stories", especially by an adaptation, that seems to lead to the idea that a context is not necessary. Well, every story needs one, and if you are presenting a tale, it doesn't matter if it was told before endlessly... you still have to tell it in full, giving your audience a way to go even further, and not to be stuck in the lack of imagination. Even interesting lives and characters (as it is the case in this movie) crave a well constructed narrative to be alive through a story.

Alfred James Munnings - The Morning Ride (ca. 1912).

Summer in February. Directed by Christopher Menaul. With: Dan Stevens,
Emily Browning, Dominic Cooper. Writer: Jonathan Smith. UK, 2013,
100 min.,  Dolby Digital, Color (Cable TV).

PS: Soon after his infamous exit from Downton Abbey, Dan Steven was cast in this movie. In the promoting interviews at that time, he was constantly questioned about why he have done such evil to the beloved characters on the TV show. I hope he has regretted it, because I'm one of the accusers that don't forgive him for nothing :)


  1. That sounds like a waste of good talent. Dom Cooper is always a pleasure to watch. But you are absolutelly right, the narrative should be able to embrace the story in order to spread it open to the audience, and even when the plot crumbles up or folds up, it should still allow the audience to navigate through the possibilities of the story. The thing is, rather it's a 'true story' or a pure fiction, it all starts with the script, and if it's not well grounded, the film might have holes. Like this one seems to have.
    It's really bad when the story doesn't seem to make sense as the movie progresses and you have a hard time connecting the facts and the characters. I watched a film this weekend that was really messy, I had to pause and rewind every dozen minutes just to try and get it. As it moved on to its 3rd act, I gave up and allowed myself to take a nap, not bothering to finish it. It the script is flawed, the movie most likely will flop.

    [ j ]

    1. Movie adaptation can be a trap for the writer if he isn't attentive to what he is telling.. It sounds simple, but it is actually easy to mess things up, as You've said. I thought how we start to say something presuming that the other knows what we're talking about, when in fact no one has no idea what we want to say - while we possibly think that we're making so much sense... lol. That's how I felt in this movie.