DIRECTOR KAT COIRO'S And While We Were Here evokes the moods of classic mid-20th century films by European greats like Godard and Rossellini, but to far less effect. The scenic locations of Naples and the island of Ischia are given full sweep, as quintessential a background for an affair as the main character's striped shirt is for a tourist in the Mediterranean. This tendency toward unimaginative redevelopment and a general lack of power—in script and in performance—leaves a limp result with little to offer outside of the attractiveness of its setting, actors, and wardrobe.
Kate Bosworth plays Jane, a beautiful, chilly, and dull writer who's in Italy with her viola-playing husband Leonard (Iddo Goldberg) as he prepares for an orchestra performance. We learn their marriage is bloodless, with Jane under-stimulated and complacent, and Leonard dutiful but distant. Tasked with nothing to do, Jane wanders around, idly listening to interview tapes of her grandmother and thinking about her miscarriage. After a solid 24 hours of that, she begins an affair with handsome 19-year-old rapscallion Caleb (Jamie Blackley), a shiftless no-account who nonetheless charms her with both his ability to recite poetry and his derring-do (he takes her out to dinner and they run out on the check, which is a total panty dropper for bored-to-tears Jane).
Much of the film's most memorable moments are montages of Caleb and Jane frolicking through the idyllic island (dancing on a dock! Splashing in a fountain!), and the contrast between Leonard and Caleb is drawn all too clearly. (A woman at a crossroads, etc.) With characters as dynamic as cardboard cutouts (even the lively Caleb manages to be impressively annoying), the whole product feels at best like a humble homage, and at worst like an airy exercise in bland stereotypes, stylish as they may be.