Colin Firth plays an English lecturer working in the United States. His wife dies in a car crash, and Firth has to look after his two daughters - one a typically sulky and vacuous teenager, the other a girl of 11 or 12 who blames herself for the car accident, and begins to imagine her mother is appearing in her bedroom and talking to her. Firth decides to teach in Genova for a year, and takes the girls with him. The teenager smokes dope (she was doing the same at her mother's funeral reception) and the younger girl continues seeing her dead mother.
Everything in this film is very low key and measured, and there's nothing in it that rebels against common sense, nothing that seems beyond the realms of ordinary human life. The description given by my cable provider called it a 'supernatural drama,' but that it isn't. When the characters begin to wander around the maze of Genoan alleys, getting lost, I feared that the film might turn into a dreadful rehash of 'Don't Look Now,' but luckily no. The teenage girl resents her father's attempt to know where she goes (and who with) every hour of the day. The younger girl is more interesting as a character, and her portrayal of grief is quite moving.
Firth is excellent here, and he acts his part by apparently doing very little. This is exactly the right way of approaching one's part in rather slight 'slice of real life' material like this. If you're expecting 'supernatural' garbage like 'In Dreams' or 'Half Light,' you'll be sadly disappointed. But if you want thoughtful and humane drama, this is for you.
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