3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great for what it actually IS,
This review is from: Sideways [DVD]  (DVD)
I've just seen the film and really liked it. I could not care less whether it was a "comedy" or not - some reviewers don't see it that way, and depending on your defintion, it may not be. But, if it is misdescribed, it's not the film's fault, is it? It certainly is not funny in the way say "Miranda" or "Faulty Towers" are, ie constant, real LOL funny, but there is gentle humour from time to time, which is fine.
I agree with some reviewers who note that one has preferably to empathise with the characters a little to want to see a film about them - I could not do so to a very great extent in the case of one of the couples, but did do so very much in the case of the Madsen/Giamatti relationship. To me it was a gentle drama - not a heavy-hitting deeply and overtly dramatic thing, which films seem to need to be to get described as "drama". It was light, but definitely NOT lightweight. In my view, marketing people who call too many things comedy deserve one star, but the writer, director etc of this film and the above two actors especially deserve five. Giamatti's character may have mildly snobbish tendencies perhaps (although only really in relation to wine, which was only ever one of a number of a pegs to hang the whole enterprise on), but this is not a reason to dislike the film, as he is a thoughtful, intelligent person in the other areas of of his existence, and his humanity including, yes, some human frailties, coupled with the choices he makes, show him to be one of life's "better people" in the sense of goodness, not status. Madsen plays a woman of both attractive looks and personality, she is interesting, bright, intelligent and warm, ie easy for a fellow to fall for, hence my empathy with the Giamatti character who does just that, and the pair come across to me as very real and excellent to watch.
The film may not do quite what the marketeers wrote on the can, but... who cares????
In summary, an absolute GEM of a film.