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  Publicity Stills of "A Good Year"
(Courtesy from 20th Century Fox)

Genre: Drama
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Russell Crowe, Albert Finney, Abbie Cornish, Marion Cotillard, Valeria Bruni- Tedeschi, Didier
RunTime: 1 hr 58 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Rating: PG
Opening Day: 9 November 2006



Synopsis :

Based 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.

Movie Review:

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 movies too.

This 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.

The 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.

Of 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.

And that’s about it you’d be getting from this 118-minute movie. Nothing more, nothing less.

While 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 story.

Russel 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.

The 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 ones too.

If 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.

But you also know that you won’t be doing that anytime soon, because of, well, sadly, more practical and cynical concerns.

The 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 roll.

Movie Rating:

(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

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