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3.3 out of 5 stars44
3.3 out of 5 stars
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2013
An understated and quietly effective ghost story set in the creepy, dark, and narrow lanes of the crumbling old city of Genoa where a grief and guilt stricken young girl encounters an apparition of the dead mother for whose death she blames herself. Though some have compared this film to "Don't Look Now", with Genoa standing in for Venice, there are also clear references to "The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James. Like the latter story, whether the apparition is a subjective hallucination or is objectively real is somehow beside the point. The point is not questions as to the "reality" of the ghost but what it means to the protagonist and what the rite of passage represented by death and loss means to the living. Without giving away the plot I merely hint that the moral of this film, like "Don't Look Now", is that, however benign they seem, its best for ones health that the denizens on the "Other Side" should be left severely alone by those on this side...Just to add that I think that some of the uncomprehending reviews here seem to be from those who were unconsiously ticking the boxes of acceptable Holly-wooden wham-bam cinematic cliches and were just not paying attention...Though slow paced, this is, in fact, a tightly plotted film, with a resolute and chilling conclusion. Good acting, nice score and beautiful scenery also...Chill out, ye who are deficit of attention, and enjoy...
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 3 October 2010
Colin Firth reminds us of his extensive talent here, perfectly depicting the dichotomy of a grieving widower who must keep going for the sake of his two daughters. He is ably supported by the two young leads, at different stages in their lives, displaying their confusion, grief and alienation (both physical, having moved to a strange country, and psychological, as they come to terms with their new reality as motherless children) in age-appropriate ways - and very convincingly. The added dimension of the guilt felt by the younger daughter is believable and tragic.

All in all, I am surprised by the number of negative reviews this film has received. I think Michael Winterbottom was seeking to depict a slice of everyday life, albeit very bitter-sweet and raw. Maybe there isn't a huge amount of action, but most people's lives tend to be that way, and action was obviously not the motivation behind this piece.

Personally, I thought it was excellent and would watch again.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2013
I did like this film very much. It is not a big blockbuster with a happy ever after ending. It is a journey with a start but no ending.
Colin plays a widower looking after his children, after the sudden loss of his wife. He moves to Genova to start over. The film moves very slowly and gracefully along as the grief of these 3 people is played out. There is a feeling of continuity towards the end of the film, that life does goes on (even though the movie ends) as the family come to terms with their new life.
Genova the city is beautiful old city, with amazing scenery, winding streets, interesting people and has a history. Some of the camera angles (from high up or from a child's perspective) gave me the sense of how easy one could 'lose' themselves in a such a place. The grief that could easily destroy them, ends up bringing them together in the end. It is beautifully made.

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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2010
I'm troubled that so many reviews here and elsewhere describe Genova as 'boring' or plotless. I'll admit it breaks off rather abruptly at the end, and I felt like another scene wouldn't have hurt. And I'd also say that the idea of calling it a 'supernatural chiller' (as the cover review quote does) is misleading, to the point of being damaging. I found the film, despite it's sombre subject, very uplifting. Perhaps this has something to do with my having left the UK for New Zealand, and finding myself missing Europe (especially France and Italy) more than I'd like. The filming of the city is gorgeous, and reminds me somewhat of 'Don't Look Now' (though obviously in a different season), but more importantly the performance of the three main characters was very impressive. Both the girls were very convincing in their roles - particularly impressive for the younger actress - and Colin Firth played his standard subdued role in a way that I thought worked very well. For me though, the actresses (Willa Holland and Perla Haney-Jardine) performances were the more impressive and substantial part of the film, and I look forward to seeing their other performances in the future.

As far as the lack of plot goes, perhaps my strong enjoyment of French cinema makes me more tolerant of a less staged, Hollywood-like storyline. It's simply more of a (mainland) European-style, moderate budget film, rather than a star-vehicle. I like the fact that not every scene is obviously linking from the last one into the next. I don't really see that a film needs to have a firm, step 1 to step 10, narrative to make it enjoyable. I was very happily immersed in the performances and the setting, and my only complaint is that the film wasn't longer. But perhaps this leaves us more opportunity to think through the next stages of the story ourselves, if we so choose.

Anyway, now to perk up the Amazon sales dept by buying the thing!
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2009
This movie is a great portrait for wonderful, misterious, city: Genova.The culturally rich Italian city is the backdrop for one of Colin Firth's finest roles as the desolate dad who struggles to console his younger daughter who was inadvertently responsible for his wife's demise, and her older sister, whose grief manifests itself in angry rebellion.

Michael Winterbottom's choice of Genoa is inspirational - the churches, beautiful buildings and glorious coast meshing perfectly with a tender script.

Firth is utterly believable in his role as a beleaguered single parent Joe, who is both grieving but attempting to start his life afresh.
I definitely suggest to see the movie and to visit Genova.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2010
While the movie covers aspects that are related to mourning (anger, denial,...), it shows a relationships that grows between the father and the youngest daughter (Mary), while he refuses to confront the eldest (Kelly). To some extent it is understandable because of the way the youngest is involved in the death of the mother and all the demons the child must face. However, it would have been helpful to have a last scene that shows how the relationship among the three of them (Mary, Kelly and Joe) evolves in spite of the absence of the mother once they face the crisis that occurs almost at the end of the movie. This is what happens in really life when a loved one dies: life goes one and there is like a lack of this continuity between the knot and the end of the movie. While the movie is slow, it goes with the pace of real life and has undoubtedly a more European approach.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2010
I loved this film. It was moving, real and unflinchingly honest. It may be too sophisticated for viewers who prefer their films American style ie; cliched, predictable, and schmaltzy. My only complaint is that it is billed as a supernatural chiller whereas it is more a study of loss, love and makes me want to visit Genova.
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on 20 January 2014
Colin Firth as usual brilliant, his two daughters also. Had seen before on tv but had forgotten it. Story line interesting only as seeing how a widower with daughters copes with them and everyday life. Genoa was a place of narrow streets very typical of Italy. I do love Italy so maybe this was the main draw to buying the DVD.
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30 of 40 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 14 August 2009
On the cover of this DVD, "Genova" is described as "an eerily effective supernatural thriller". Don't you believe it. I spent most of this film clock-watching and thinking that after 20, 30, 60 ... minutes something must be about to happen.

The film is visually delightful: in fact I would go so far as to say that the real star is the city of Genova (Genoa) itself. The standard of acting is high, but the drama never really takes off.

So unless your idea of "thrilling" is a teenager riding on the back of her new Italian boyfriend's motor scooter or your idea of "supernatural" is a child lighting a candle for her dead mother, you should give this one a miss. The only people who should be giving this film 5 stars are the Italian Tourist Board.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
It's true. There's not a great deal going for this film, but stumbling upon it one night, I was intrigued enough to keep flicking back to see what if anything had transpired. (I'm admitting I watched it on TV.)

There are superficial reminders of Don't Look Now, with bereavement, a move to scenic Italy - though Genoa is no sub for Venice - and a ghost of the deceased. Genova aspires to be more naturalistic, which makes it seem humdrum, and it certainly sounds like the marketing is wrong. No thriller-chiller, this.

What you get is a slice of life, perfectly convincing, with Colin Firth a bit dull but handsome and his daughters running about the city, the elder hanging out with boys, the younger plagued by visitations from her dead mother (hallucinations?). There is a continual expectation of something about to happen, something nasty, but only because NOTHING appears to be happening. Just a domestic routine.

Basically, it's an unexpected and not unlikeable addition to the Colin Firth collection, but slender fare without much ambition. Plausible late night viewing if you can't sleep.
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