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A Good Year [DVD] 
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Comedy based on Peter Mayle's best-selling novel about a London-based investment banker who relocates to Provence in hopes of selling a small vineyard he has inherited from his recently-deceased uncle. As a child, Max Skinner (Freddie Highmore) was taught to appreciate the finer things in life while wandering the vineyard estate of his uncle Henry (Albert Finney). 25 years later Max (Russell Crowe) is now a successful businessman and when he learns that Henry has recently passed away and he has been named the sole beneficiary of his late uncle's estate, Max hastily arranges a flight to France in order to assess the value of the old property and get it prepped for sale. However, Max arrives in Provence to discover the vineyard in a crumbling state of disrepair, and his troubles are further compounded by the stubbornness of a gruff estate winemaker M. Duflot (Didier Bourdon) and the unexpected arrival of a determined Californian woman named Christie (Abbie Cornish) who presents herself as a long-lost cousin while making a dubious claim to Henry's estate.
A feel-good movie that highlights the beauty of France as much as it does its stars, A Good Year provides a languid, gorgeous viewing experience. Director Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe--who first worked together on the Academy Award-winning Gladiator--are reunited in this romantic film, which is based on Peter Mayle's book A Year in Provence. Crowe plays Max, a workaholic London bonds trader who doesn't know the meaning of vacation. When his uncle dies, leaving him a picturesque estate in the south of France, Max views it as an opportunity to cash in the vinery and pocket the profits. The film is reminiscent of Diane Lane's Under the Tuscan Sun in the way the scenery plays as much of a role in the film as its characters. The lush village and streaming sunlight portray Provence as an idyllic, magical place. Even Max falls under its spell. While not a particularly likeable character, especially in the early part of the film, Max also isn't a bad guy. When he gets the chance to live life at a less manic pace than which he is used to, he finds that a good year isn't dependant on a financial windfall. Though Scott tries to drum up some suspense in the film (Is the beautiful visitor really Max's illegitimate cousin? Will Max fall in love with the feisty local woman he trades quips with?) nothing that happens comes as much of a surprise. Still, while the film doesn't fully utilise Crowe's range of skills, the actor is charming in his role and A Good Year provides fine viewing. --Jae-Ha Kim
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If a strength of a film is its ability to make one want to "be there", then this one scores very highly indeed.
The man who directed 'Blade Runner', 'Alien', 'Thelma and Louise' and 'Gladiator', to name but a few, has brought us a tender romantic-comedy which is utterly, utterly different from anything he has done before.
In a character completely different from 'Gladiator', Russell Crowe is a sardonic and cut-throat London financial trader who apparently is to inherit his uncle's wine-growing estate in France where he grew up. Visiting it with no purpose other than to sell it, he gradually falls in love once again with the place, with the people, and with a young cafe-owner called Fanny Chenal.
'A Good Year' has some charming bits of fun -- driving a Smart car in France, trying to get out of an empty swimming pool, scorpions causing the foreigners to panic -- but it is ultimately a character comedy about a man rediscovering himself. Some of the underlying Ridley Scott trademarks are there -- immaculately staged visuals, confident use of time which enables him to explore details as the plot gradually builds -- but they are used for a completely different purpose. There are no grand concepts of honour, revenge, the fight to survive, or saving the human race, nor are there the stark contrasts between character and situation. Equally, while many of Scott's worlds are utterly remote from our own (war-torn Africa, Columbus's Spain, the far-future in space), this one is so close to home that you can almost imagine getting into a car and driving into the script. And, while many of his films are directed on a gigantic scale, 'A Good Year' is intimate and reflects the two tiny worlds of Provence and London's Square Mile.
'A Good Year' did not immediately impress the critics. But neither did 'Blade Runner', nor a number of other Ridley Scott films now considered to be classics. I've watched it twice, in the space of a few days, and I fully expect to watch it three or four times more.
What takes it beyond that, is that it's a Ridley Scott film, so naturally it looks excellent. Russell Crowe is affable but doesn't really have to stretch himself. You'd think the whole thing was carried along by the chance of spending a summer working in the sunny south of France. So: relaxing for them and relaxing for us. A good year, a good flic, just don't expect to be stretched.
“The secret of comedy is timing.” If you’re writing what is essentially a romantic comedy you have to have some confidence to include that line of dialogue, not just once but twice. On its cinema release, A Good Year (based on a novel by A Year in Provence writer Peter Mayle) received a kicking, for reasons that certainly have justification. This is a light comedy directed by a man and starring another man who are neither noted for their light comic touch. Even without that aspect to the part, Russell Crowe is miscast. The film is only moderately amusing, and obeys my rule of thumb about comedy in that it is overlong by the amount it exceeds ninety minutes. It’s also relentlessly predictable. Yet I couldn’t bring myself to dislike this film, possibly because I didn’t trek through November weather to spend over seven pounds to see it at my local multiplex. In less demanding circumstances, say after lunch or in an early evening on television, with the three F-words removed, this could be pleasant enough viewing, with a glass of wine or two to put you in the mood. And if you nod off now and again, that won’t hurt too much.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an amazing feel good film. Great acting from Crowe who can be hit or miss. Loved the humour and worth the watch. Must seePublished 12 days ago by Chris Rogers
So pleased I stumbled upon this gem of a film. I thought it was charming and funny with such beautiful scenery it made you wish to be there. Read morePublished 12 days ago by marianna willcocks
Brilliant feel good film/rom com. A great night in with a bottle of good red!!Published 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is a heartwarming film that shows Russell Crowe in a lighthearted role. I thoroughly enjoyed this and highly recommend it.Published 24 days ago by helenco
Superb have watched it about twenty times and so has my father, it makes you know what life should be about.Published 1 month ago by Mle V. Anderson Potts