Veteran director Christopher Menaul (Fatherland, The Forsyte Saga) directs this compelling true story of love among bohemian artists on the eve of the First World War. Adapted from Jonathan Smith’s novel, Summer in February follows Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning), an aspiring artist who takes refuge from her father’s choice of suitor at Lamorna, a windswept artists’ colony in Cornwall. There she finds herself torn between Captain Gilbert Evans (Dan Stevens), a Boer War veteran and consummate gentleman, and AJ Munnings (Dominic Cooper), a hot-tempered and visionary artist. But when Florence acquiesces to a hasty marriage, she quickly begins to feel trapped.
Menaul captures the vertiginous cliffs and sparkling light of the Cornish coast but holds the melodrama at bay as the tension builds. Australian actress Emily Browning (Sucker Punch) is utterly convincing as Florence, while Dominic Cooper (Mamma Mia, My Week with Marilyn) brings a convincing passion to Munnings and Dan Stephens is characteristically dignified as lovesick Captain Evans. An excellent supporting cast is enlivened by brief cameos from Camille O’Sullivan and English folk star Seth Lakeman.
Alistair Daniel, Jameson Dublin International Film Festival