You're not British, you just like watching Brits on TV. Maybe you like it a little too much - to the point where American TV just doesn't cut it for you anymore. Here are some signs that you might be addicted.
1. You can name every actor who has ever played Doctor Who.
2. You find yourself slipping into a British accent at least once a day. Which tends to get this reaction from people:
3. You've gone into a rage spiral when someone reminds you how long you have to wait for more Sherlock.
4. Whenever there's a death on Downton Abbey you grieve like it was a member of your own family. Whyyy Matthew?!
5. You boycotted the American version of Broadchurch. And you won in the end because Gracepoint was cancelled.
6. You're convinced it's only a matter of time before the things in Black Mirror happen in real life.
7. You've swapped out coffee for tea - because all your favorite characters drink it.
8. After watching Luther, you're campaigning hard for Idris Elba to be the new James Bond.
9. You've never seen Mad Men, but you're obsessed with The Hour.
10. Forget Christian Grey. You'll always think of Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector in The Fall.
11. When Lena Dunham tweeted about her love for Call the Midwife, you were all like, "Duh, where have you been?"
12. You've cried while watching Derek. Like, openly bawled.
13. You're planning a trip to UK as we speak.
Are YOU addicted to British TV? Which show is your favorite? Tell us on Twitter and Facebook!
As obsessive readers and fans of dismissing quality movies as inferior to their literary counterparts, it's important for us to know which books will head to the big screen ahead of time. How else will we know how Wild Reese will be, or what is going to happen to Peeta? Be reasonable. We've decided to use our research for the good of society and share the adaptations coming soon that we are most excited for.
1. The Spook's Apprentice - Joseph Delaney (Seventh Son)
Thomas Ward (Ben Barnes) is the seventh son of the seventh son, which gives him the ability to see things that others cannot: ghosts, ghasts, boggarts, and the like. He becomes an apprentice to John Gregory, the Spook (Jeff Bridges). Julianne Moore is set to play Mother Malkin, one of the most sinister witches who uses blood magic, luring young runaway women into care before sucking their blood to maintain her youth, who was then imprisoned by the Spook. Kit Harington and Djimon Hounsou also star.
2. Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, in case you somehow didn't know, are stepping into the roles of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey for the adaptation of the incredibly successful erotic novel. Steele, a literature student, interviews Grey as a favor to her roommate, but quickly becomes entranced by this brilliant and handsome man who is unable to resist her. He admits his desire, but on his own terms; this is a man with a need to control everything. This is also probably going to be the movie with a bunch of heavy-breathing sweaty middle-aged women trying to control themselves in the theater. You've been warned.
3. In the Heart of the Sea - Nathaniel Philbrick
The last time Ron Howard and Chris Hemsworth teamed up, they brought us one of the best films of 2013, Rush. Now, they're at it again (along with Cillian Murphy and Benjamin Walker) with this story of a whaleship attacked by one angry whale, leaving the crew shipwrecked and stranded for 90 days, thousands of miles from land. The true story inspired a little book by Herman Melville (played in the movie by our favorite, Ben Whishaw) entitled Moby-Dick.
4. The Price of Salt - Patricia Highsmith (Carol)
W. W. Norton & Company
Patricia Highsmith, author of successful novels-turned-movies like Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley (we're choosing to ignore the recent The Two Faces of January here), wrote The Price of Salt, which will be released as 'Carol.' The novel itself, controversial for its lesbian content and unprecedented gay happy ending, is said to have inspired Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. The film stars Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, and Sarah Paulson, with Far From Heaven and I'm Not There director Todd Haynes helming.
5. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
Shaye Areheart Books
Gone Girl author brings us yet another chilling thriller. A young girl is the sole survivor of a massacre that leaves both of her sisters and her mother dead in an apparent Satanic cult ritual. She testifies against her brother, but 25 years later, she begins to investigate the actual events. Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Nicholas Hoult, and Christina Hendricks star.
6. A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants director Ken Kwapis is set to direct Bryson's memoir, starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. The hilarious book describes Bryson's attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail with his friend Stephen Katz. Emma Thompson and Parks and Recreation's Nick Offerman will also star.
7. Insurgent - Veronica Roth
As conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows, a war looms for Divergent's post-apocalyptic Chicago. In this sequel, we're still following Shailene Woodley and Theo James' Tris and Four as they try to understand the reasons for Erudite's insurrection and obtain information the Abnegation are trying to protect. Kate Winslet, Zoë Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, and Miles Teller return in their supporting roles, and are joined by some all-star names: Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, and Suki Waterhouse.
8. Serena - Ron Rash
The dynamic duo of mega-nominated movies Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle are back at it! Bradley Cooper plays a man trying to maintain his timber empire during the Depression, while Jennifer Lawrence plays his wife who discovers she can't have children. For some reason, we're a little terrified of JLaw in this movie from the trailer.
9. Silence - Shusako Endo
Taplinger Publishing Company
This 1966 novel about a Jesuit missionary sent to 17th century Japan where he endures persecution is set to be adapted by Martin Scorsese. It will also have an all star cast of Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Ken Watanabe, and Adam Driver.
10. The Longest Ride - Nicholas Sparks
The producers of The Fault in Our Stars, the author of The Notebook, and the hottest Hollywood son around, this movie already has us in love with it. Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson play two lovers and there's a rodeo or something; we don't really know, we were just thinking about how much this movie will make us cry. Time to read the book.
11. Far From the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
The Hunt director Thomas Vinterberg tackles Thomas Hardy's novel. Carey Mulligan stars as Bathsheba Everdene, a woman who has too many men in love with her and of course rejects them all until she falls for one. Three men, played by Michael Sheen, Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone), and Tom Sturridge (On The Road), all after this woman: who will she end up with? We actually just read the plot description and had everything spoiled and somehow still gasped and cried at those three paragraphs. Why didn't we know about this book before?!
12. Paper Towns - John Green
The Fault in Our Stars author John Green's next book to be adapted by the same team who adapted TFIOS (Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber). Margo and her adventures are legendary at her high school, and Quentin ("Q") has always loved her for it. Margo climbs through his window and demands he take an all night road trip of revenge, but when she goes missing the next day, Q realizes she's left clues for him and promptly hits the road again in search of her. Cara Delevingne will play Margo and TFIOS' Nat Wolff will play Q.
13. The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge - Michael Punke
Carroll & Graf Publishers
Academy Award-nominated Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, 21 Grams, Biutiful) is set to direct Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy in this adaptation. Partially based on the life of fur trapper Hugh Glass. Leo will play Glass, who is mauled by a bear, then later robbed and left for dead by his companions. He survives and sets out for revenge against those same men.
14. The Secret Scripture - Sebastian Barry
Faber and Faber
A one-hundred-year-old woman, Roseanne McNulty, in a mental hospital for about 50 years decides to retrace her history. As the hospital faces demolition and he must choose which of his patients should be transferred and which should rejoin the community, Dr. Grene also tries to discover her history. What they find is very different, though there are some consistencies. Vanessa Redgrave and Rooney Mara will play Roseanne McNulty, Eric Bana will play Grene, with Theo James also starring.
15. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
An oft-adapted novel, Mary Shelley's classic is to be turned into yet another film, this time directed by Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin, Push). The updated version, titled Victor Frankenstein, will be told from the perspective of the doctor's assistant, Igor. The film will explain how the doctor became the man who created the legendary monster. Daniel Radcliffe will play Igor and James McAvoy will play Victor Frankenstein.
16. The Martian - Andy Weir
Crown Publishing Group
Described as Cast Away meets Apollo 13, the novel follows an astronaut stranded on Mars, fighting to survive (which also sounds mildly like Gravity to us, no?). Ridley Scott is set to direct a pretty stellar (no pun intended) cast here: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Donald Glover, Kate Mara, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. This sounds like a great movie already, but we'll have to wait until November to see it.
17. The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling
Walt Disney Pictures is working on this live-action/CGI mash-up of the classic book, directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Chef), with a mind-bogglingly incredible cast. Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito will provide voices, while newcomer Neel Sethi will play Mowgli.
Actor Tom Hardy is heading to American TV with his new historical drama, Taboo. Bosses at the FX network have picked up The Dark Knight star's new series, which is set in 1813 and follows an adventurer called James Keziah Delaney, played by Hardy.
It is based on an original story Hardy wrote with his father, and was adapted by Steven Knight, the writer and director of Hardy's most recent film, Locke.
Sir Ridley Scott will executive produce the project along with Hardy. It is set to air on FX in 2016 and on BBC1 in the U.K.
James Gandolfini's young son took his father's place on the red carpet for the premiere of the late actor's final movie at the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada on Friday (05Sep14). The Sopranos star's 14-year-old boy Michael attended the screening of The Drop, the last film his father made before his death in June last year (13), and spoke to reporters about his late dad.
Michael told The Hollywood Reporter, "I'm just really proud of him. He loved acting. He loved being an actor. I know how hard he worked and I love how hard he worked.... So I love seeing him (onscreen), but at the same time it's hard."
The youngster was on vacation with his father in Italy when the 51 year old suffered a fatal heart attack at the hotel where they were staying.
Director Michael R. Roskam also spoke of Gandolfini's loss at The Drop premiere, revealing the screening brought back a lot of memories for the cast: "It's sinking in. I'm feeling it. We're all feeling it. We were talking all yesterday about him, all night about the memories."
Gandolfini's co-star Tom Hardy adds, "I was very grateful to have the privilege of working with him. He was so talented."
Now that we're reached the halfway mark between the dawn of a hopeful 2014 and the inevitable exasperated gasp of relief that another year of harrowing grief is finally over, we're inclined to look back on the past six months' cinematic highs. First, we set our sights to the best performances of the year, both leading and supporting. The thespian achievements that made us laugh, cry, wince (in the good way, not the Adam Levine in Begin Again way), and cheer. Here's a quick list of some of the most impressive performances we've seen so far in 2014.
Fox Searchlight Pictures via Everett Collection
Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest HotelIt would be no surprise to anyone that Ralph Fiennes can act his way around a cerebral drama, and probably no real shock that he can handle himself in a sharp, fast-paced comedy either. But Grand Budapest is even doses of both, and Fiennes never slips up in his delivery of the rigid, obsessive Gustave H. as both a humane hero and a comic wonder.
Gina Piersanti in It Felt Like LoveThe best part of this terrific movie about struggling with your identity in adolescence is its star, Gina Piersanti, who makes the subtleties of her sad story vividly accessible.
Nicolas Cage in JoeSome of the picks on this list are less a result of the performance in question having blown us away, but more due to how happy we were to see the actors in question turn in something worthwhile. Cage is great in Joe, his first halfway decent movie in quite some time, serving to prove that he's still an actor who deserves critical attention.
Tilda Swinton in Only Lovers Left AliveSharing screentime and immaculate chemistry with Tom Hiddleston, who is also wonderful in the picture, Swinton manages an unfathomable energy without detracting from the film's focal point of the duo's romantic partnership. Shining so bright through the dark and dusky sheaths of Only Lovers, Swinton is the best part of what is plausibly the very best movie of 2014.
A24 via Everett Collection
Tom Hardy in LockeIf you liked Locke whatsoever, you'd have to credit that to Hardy's performance. As the only actor onscreen toggling his attentions between a steering wheel, a cell phone, and his own inner demons, the man gets truly theatrical in a way you don't often get to see on the big screen.
Mira Grosin in We Are the Best!One of the youngest individuals on the list is one third of the headlining trio in We Are the Best!, a sweet, fun, earnest film about Swedish schoolgirls reaching for (and just about finding) a new identity in punk rock music. Although each member of the band is a treat, the plucky and acerbic Grosin stands out as a particularly special performer.
Tom Cruise in Edge of TomorrowIn the vein of the Nic Cage/Joe qualification, we chose Cruise's Edge of Tomorrow performance stricly because of how long it's been since we've seen the once beloved and presently bemoaned movie star provide genuine thrills... it's been even longer since he's provided genuine laughter, which he does in no small doses in Edge of Tomorrow. The reason Cruise works so well in the sci-fi picture? He's playing a jackass — the sort of character at which he proved himself a master back in the '80s but has shied away from in recent years. Stick to the jerks, Cruise. Maverick, Charlie Babbitt, Tom "Morrow" Edgerson... you're good at 'em.
Jenny Slate in Obvious ChildThe most impressive part of Slate's turn as the early-life-crisis-stricken Donna in Obvious Child: her stand-up comedy routines are a genuine pleasure to watch (no mean feat for any movie). Slate's fresh turn on the wacky gal we often see in stand-up comedies is bolstered by her agency and palpable identity; this isn't just someone we're forced to see through a hard time, this is a human being who we're truly rooting for. We can give thanks to the script, certainly, but also to the naturally funny and engaging Slate.
Jesse Eisenberg in The DoubleEisenberg gets a rare gift in The Double: a chance to bank on the sort of work that made him famous in the first place, and to try out a brand new bag on the viewing public. The always neurotic performer ups the ante on his nervous shtick as Simon James, but breaks loose with a dickish confidence that tops even Mark Zuckerberg's hubris as James Simon.
Agata Kulesza in IdaThanks to Kulesza, Ida winds up a shockingly charming, funny, and (less surprisingly) very sad film. A look at the post-Holocaust years through the eyes of a long-internally-suffering Jewish woman (Kulesza) and her neice doesn't seem like a ground particularly fertile for anything "upbeat," but the sharp and spry performance of Kulesza makes for a uniquely inviting portrait of a somber, bizarre world.
Ken Watanabe in GodzillaWatanabe delivers what is hands down the weirdest performance in any blockbuster we've seen this year, or plausibly in recent years. The actor channels Jeff Goldblum-level "out there"-ness as a scientist who comes face to face with the titular monster after a lifetime devoted to research on the subject. Most of Watanabe's screentime is spent staring off into nowhere, a choice emblematic of unmistakable lunacy residing in the mind of this obsessed professor. We can feel his pain... but it's pure joy to watch.
Nat Wolff in Palo Alto Likely more recognizable for his supporting turn in The Fault in Our Stars, Wolff is a powerhouse in another ennui-soaked high school drama: Palo Alto, which is far more cynical (and terrific) than the aforementioned feature. Wolff plays a teen succumbing to loneliness, self-loathing, and substance abuse in the nihilistic tornado that is his upper class existence. At once the clown and the beacon of tragedy, Wolff really knocks it out of the park in Gia Coppola's debut.
Tilda Swinton in SnowpiercerThe only actor on this list twice (unless you count Jesse Eisenberg for his dual roles in The Double) is Tilda Swinton, who proves herself as powerful a character actor as she is a leading stoic. In stark contrast to her Only Lovers heroine, Swinton's Snowpiercer character is a wicked, delusional tyrant who would be petrifying were she not so damn hilarious.
Agata Trzebuchowska in IdaYep, there is a second actor from Ida on this list, and she's also named Agata. In fact, the younger of the two stars gives what is indeed the more remarkable performance, playing almost exclusively silent as she drinks in her aunt's life of tragic hedonism from a two-foot distance. The Ida/Anna role might have been little more than a lens for the audience to view the horrors of the Holocaust, but Trzebuchowska's restrained anguish gives the story an intriguing slant. All the pangs of the post World War II world that filter through her come out the other end with a peculiar, insightful flavor.
Daniel Radcliffe in What ifSometimes all it takes for a role to stick with you is laughter. Daniel Radcliffe, who we all love, is destined for a long career in comedy. As the romantic lead of What if, Radcliffe is super-Hugh-Grant levels of dashing, debonair, self-deprecating, and f**king funny. His rapid fire delivery, affable countenance, and complete mastery of the most eclectic wordplay makes his What if turn (as a guy named Wallace, no less) more than worthy of the world's post-Potter love.
Nathan Varnson in Hide Your Smiling FacesFinally, representing one of our favorite movies of the year is Nathan Varnson, a child actor who plays a young boy dealing with the sudden death of a close friend. There are no big, showy moments in Smiling Faces. Everything Varnson showcases is largely internalized; his role is predominantly wordless, in fact. All the more reason why it stands out in our minds as one of the best of the year.
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Actor Tom Hardy has signed on to star in a new U.K. TV series from director Sir Ridley Scott. The Inception star will return to the small screen in a new BBC period drama created by British screenwriter Steven Knight and produced by acclaimed filmmaker Scott.
Set in 1813, Hardy will play James Keziah Delaney, a "rogue adventurer" who is eager to build his own trade and shipping empire, only to find himself at the centre of two warring nations, Britain and America.
Hardy expresses his enthusiasm for the role in a statement which reads: "We're creating a flagship British drama for this generation, a hybrid of orthodox and unconventional story telling, packed with darkness and spirited characters.
"I think Steve Knight and Ridley Scott are the perfect partners and the BBC the perfect home for this hugely exciting and compelling project."
Production is slated to begin January, 2015.
Johnny Depp is back on board to portray notorious crime boss James 'Whitey' Bulger in a new biopic. The Edward Scissorhands star was originally cast in Black Mass last February (13), but dropped out in May (13) after he was reportedly asked to take a $10 million (£6.25 million) pay cut due to budget constraints.
Last month (Jan14), it was reported the actor was back in talks and now he has officially signed on to play the Boston, Massachusetts gangster, who spent almost two decades evading capture after he was placed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation 's (FBI) Most Wanted List, according to Deadline.com.
Rain Man director Barry Levinson was initially attached to direct the film, but Out of the Furnace filmmaker Scott Cooper has taken over the project.
In addition to Depp's casting, The Dark Knight Rises actor Tom Hardy is reportedly in talks to star as former FBI agent John Connolly, a childhood friend of Bulger who served time in prison for racketeering and obstruction of justice charges stemming from his relationship with him.
Production is expected to begin in May (14).
Black Mass isn't the only film based on Bulger's life story in development - Matt Damon is also set to star as the crime lord in a new project directed by his pal Ben Affleck, while Twilight actor Peter Facinelli is working on a TV adaptation of Edward MacKenzie and Phyllis Karas' book Street Soldier: My Life as an Enforcer For Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob.
FOX Broadcasting Co.
The first three episodes of The Following's second season have aired, and I have to say that it seems to be much of the same that made the first season sink into the morass that reduced it to "How Dumb Is This Thing Going to Become?" status. I am issuing early warning here that I will be saying some spoilery things from these episodes, so if you haven't watched them... close out of this piece now.
Let's review what has exactly happened. A new cult, or a splinter of the old one, has come to New York on the anniversary of Joe Carroll's (James Purefoy) death to try to lure him out of hiding. He apparently survived the explosion from last season's finale. They wear really creepy masks of Carroll. This is a fact that has escaped the totally annoying Emma (Valorie Curry), the one cult member that survived that whole season-ending bloodbath despite her BEING THE ONE I WANTED DEAD THE MOST. She's no longer wearing a pixie cut, instead going with a Lisbeth Salander goth look. The ones trying to get Carroll include a pair of French twins who like to kill people and then talk to them after their death, with one of them looking exactly like Christian Bale's character in American Psycho. In fact, I expect him to suddenly start talking about Genesis' Invisible Touch album.
Yeah, Carroll's alive. He's been livingin some rural town with a hooker (Carrie Preston) and her daughter, sporting a beard and baseball cap in the world's worst homage to Robert De Niro's Deer Hunter, replete with the most horrifying attempt at a southern accent. Of course, the show nudges Carroll to come out of hiding to New York. To me, it doesn't feel surprising when Carroll finally roars (or does his best imitation of roaring), "I. AM. INEVITABLE!" and then mercifully kills a priest who had discovered Carroll's real identity. No, he doesn't kill him by talking him to death, which is surprising, since Carroll loves the sound of his voice and talks and talks and talks and makes me glad I have a hearing aid to turn off to mute him. The show tries to make the killing a moral gray area, since the priest actually isn't that great of a guy because he keeps sleeping with the prostitute and leers at her daughter. But Carroll's first kill in a year doesn't make us feel anything, because we were all waiting for him to do that. A pacifistic Joe Carroll makes this show even more mundane than ever.
In the third episode, Carroll kills his hooker girlfriend after she finds the dead body of the priest. Actually, no, her daughter does it, since she is smitten with him despite his track record of, you know, KILLING WOMEN. They torch the place while Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" plays in the background, one of the most ludicrous background songs I think I've ever heard given the context. I love that song. I think this severely hurt that.
Let's not forget the the tired trope of Lily Gray, one of the first victims of the subway attack in the first episode, played by Connie Nielsen, turning out to be a follower herself. Add the fact that it had one of those aggravating chases, you know, where a pursuee (Hardy) is chasing someone (Gray) at full speed while the other person walks at an ambling gait a mere 20 feet ahead on a street and STILL DOESN'T CATCH HER. Yes, that happens here. Oh... and she's the mother of those two psycho twins. Of course.
Oh yes, how can we forget Kevin Bacon and his character of Ryan Hardy. You see, he's still obsessed with Joe Carroll, even going as far as to enlist his niece to help him out. But he's not revealing anything to law enforcement, including his former partner last season, Ice. His refusal to do so put quite a few people at risk, but he's just so tortured that he keeps all the info to himself. Bacon seems to be doing all the filming with a "I'm being paid by direct deposit, RIGHT?" expression. It's amazing he's gone three episodes thus far and hasn't been punched by someone.
I admit that I am already slipping back into my hate-watching mood when watching. Relax, dude. It's just a show. Just be entertained. The thing is, there has to be even a semblance of intelligence to even do that. When I see how sloppy the FBI seems to be in corralling these criminals, I shake my head. If they were this bad in real life, the United States would be taken over by another country in five minutes. So all I can do now is watch more and see if the show continues yet another downward spiral. Then we may be spared a third season.
Also, I'm sure that Bacon knows that his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, would have solved all this in two episodes of The Closer.
Tribeca Film via Everett Collection
For a film that involves a love triangle, mental illness, a Bohemian colony of free-spirits, an impending war and several important historical figures, the most exciting elements of Summer in February are the stunning shots of the English country and Cornish seaside. The rest of the film never quite lives up to the crashing waves and sun-dappled meadows that are used to bookend the scenes, as the entertaining opening never manages to coalesce into a story that lives up the the cinematography, let alone the lives of the people that inspired it.
Set in an Edwardian artist’s colony in Cornwall, Summer in February tells the story of A.J. Munnings (Dominic Cooper), who went on to become one of the most famous painters of his day and head of the Royal Academy of Art, his best friend, estate agent and part-time soldier Gilbert Evans (Dan Stevens), and the woman whom they both loved, aspiring artist Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning). Her marriage to Munnings was an extremely unhappy one, and she attempted suicide on their honeymoon, before killing herself in 1914. According to his journals, Gilbert and Florence were madly in love, although her marriage and his service in the army kept them apart.
When the film begins, Munnings is the center of attention in the Lamorna Artist's Colony, dramatically reciting poetry at parties and charming his way out of his bar tab while everyone around him proclaims him to be a genius. When he’s not drinking or painting, he’s riding horses with Gilbert, who has the relatively thankless task of keeping this group of Bohemians in line. Their idyllic existence is disrupted by the arrival of Florence, who has run away from her overbearing father and the fiancé he had picked out for her in order to become a painter.
Stevens and Browning both start the film solidly, with enough chemistry between them to make their infatuation interesting. He manages to give Gilbert enough dependable charm to win over both Florence and the audience, and she presents Florence as someone with enough spunk and self-possession to go after what she wants. Browning’s scenes with Munnings are equally entertaining in the first third of the film, as she can clearly see straight through all of his bravado and he is intrigued by her and how difficult she is to impress. Unfortunately, while the basis of the love triangle is well-established and entertaining, it takes a sudden turn into nothing with a surprise proposal from Munnings.
Neither the film nor Browning ever make it clear why Florence accepts his proposal, especially when they have both taken great pains to establish that she doesn’t care much for him. But once she does, the films stalls, and both Stevens and Browning spend the rest of the film doing little more than staring moodily and longingly at the people around them. The real-life Florence was plagued by depression and mental instability, but neither the film nor Browning’s performance ever manage to do more than give the subtlest hint at that darkness. On a few occasions, Browning does manage to portray a genuine anguish, but rather than producing any sympathy from the audience, it simply conjures up images of a different film, one that focused more on Florence, and the difficulties of being a woman with a mental illness at a time when both were ignored or misunderstood.
Stevens is fine, and Gilbert starts out with the same kind of good-guy appeal the won the heart of Mary Crawley and Downton Abbey fans the world over. However, once the film stalls, so does his performance, and he quickly drops everything that made the character attractive or interesting in favor of longing looks and long stretches of inactivity. He does portray a convincing amount of adoration for Florence, although that's about the only real emotion that Gilbert expresses for the vast majority of the film, and even during his love scene, he never manages to give him any amount of passion.
Cooper does his best with what he’s given, and tries his hardest to imbue the film with some substance and drama. His Munnings is by turns charming, brash, and brooding, the kind of person who has been told all of their life that they are special, and believes it. He even manages to give the character some depth, and even though he and Browning have very little chemistry, he manages to convey a genuine affection for her. It’s a shame that Munnings becomes such a deeply unlikable character, because Cooper is the only thing giving Summer in February a jolt of life – even if it comes via bursts of thinly-explained hostility. It's hard to watch just how hard he's working to connect with his co-stars and add some excitement to a lifeless script and not wish that he had a better film to show off his talents in.
Unfortunately, by the time Florence and Gilbert are finally spurred into activity, the film has dragged on for so long that you’re no longer invested in the characters, their pain, or their love story, even if you want to be. Which is the real disappointment of Summer in February; underneath the stalled plot and the relatively one-note acting, there are glimmers of a fascinating and compelling story that’s never allowed to come to the forefront.