Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Russell Crowe, Albert Finney,
Abbie Cornish, Marion Cotillard, Valeria Bruni- Tedeschi,
RunTime: 1 hr 58 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Opening Day: 9 November 2006
OUR REVIEW ON THE ORIGINAL PETER MAYLE'S NOVEL
OUR REVIEW ON THE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
on the novel by Peter Mayle, the film is about failed London
banker Max Skinner (Crowe) who moves to Provence to tend a
vineyard he inherited from his uncle, played by Albert Finney.
There he encounters a beautiful California woman who says
she is a long-lost cousin and lays claim to the property.
What happens when we anticipate and ask for too much in life?
More often that not, we will end up disappointed and let down
if things do not meet our expectations. The same goes for
warm and fuzzy movie based on Peter Mayle’s 2004 novel
is simple and straightforward. Expect anything more and you’d
be complaining about how you’d be better off watching
some other effect-laden blockbuster.
story tells of a successful and somewhat arrogant English
banker whose life takes a turn when he suddenly gets fired
from his job. Then, he hears of an inheritance of a mansion
with lush vineyards from a dead uncle in France. He flies
there, and memories begin flooding him, bringing back the
good old days when things were less complicated.
course, with a picturesque and romantic backdrop in France,
it is director Ridley Scott’s best opportunity to feature
beautiful women, fine wine and charming sceneries.
that’s about it you’d be getting from this 118-minute
movie. Nothing more, nothing less.
the story scores low in originality, it makes it up with countless
pleasant moments and feel-good vibes. And you should know
that just by reading the synopsis. It’s a typical urbanized-heartless-man-turns-appreciative-sensitive-guy
Crowe puts on a pair of old-fashioned glasses and a beer belly
to portray this character who eventually finds out what life
should be all about. It is really difficult to imagine him
beating up people in real life, as his charisma and appeal
is simply irresistible for a middle-aged man.
rest of the cast give very fine performances too. There is
the trusted Albert Finney who plays the uncle in flashback
sequences, spouting wise inspiring lines while enjoying life
with wine and women. There is the adorable Freddie Highmore
who will make you feel the idealism and hope in young kids
with his portrayal of Crowe’s younger self. Then there
are the women – Abbie Cornish and Marion Cotillard play
beautiful women who decide which direction Crowe’s life
is going to head.
Scott, who has helmed action-packed movies like Gladiator
(2000) and Black Hawk Down (2001), shows that he is also capable
of bringing out the best emotions in people, and heartfelt
there is one thing about this movie that will leave you intoxicated,
it is the beautiful and breathtaking sceneries of the vineyards.
Bathed in morning sunshine mist, you will wish that you can
quit your job and live there forever.
you also know that you won’t be doing that anytime soon,
because of, well, sadly, more practical and cynical concerns.
very apt tagline tells us that “Everything matures…
eventually”. And we shall ideally hope that we all will,
at a riper old age. It is almost impossible that you will
not like this good-natured work, and it would be a bonus if
you could take home some life lessons when the end credits
(Leave those worries and high expectations at the door and
enjoy this charming movie the way it was meant to be)
Review by John Li