Saturday, 5 February 2011

Film Review: A GOOD YEAR (2006)

Director: Ridley Scott
Running time: 118 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Romantic Comedy
UK release date 27th October 2006

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 5th February 2011.


I have never made a secret of the fact that I am a fan of the work of Ridley Scott. So, in the interests of completeness, and although I’m not particularly a fan of romantic comedies, I decided to give this one a try. I was pleasantly surprised; a gentle comedy with a lot of charm and a very appropriate soundtrack is what I found, oh, and quite a few laughs too! But enough of my ramblings, more of that later. Here’s a brief summary first (summary haters please help Duflot clean the outdoor pool while I write the next paragraph).

Max Skinner is a tough, uncompromising investment banker in London. In his youth he had spent a lot of time with his uncle, Henry, who owned a vineyard in Provence (France). He had not been in touch with him for the last ten years when he hears of his death. It seems that, as his only surviving relative, Max is to inherit the vineyard. Intending to sell it, he heads out there only to find a lot of memories in his surroundings. The people who work on the estate, Francis Duflot and his wife, Ludivine are fearful that they will no longer be working with the vines. Max agrees that they will be kept on when the sale goes through. In the village, he meets Fanny Chenal, a mysterious, and beautiful young woman who he falls for. And then, out of the blue, a girl, Christie Roberts, claiming to be Uncle Henry’s daughter turns up. This adds a bit of spice and has Max afraid that she may have a better claim on the vineyard. Will the wine and the girl soften Max’s heart? Well I guess I’ll just have to leave you wondering.

A beautifully made film with that great visual style we have come to expect from Ridley Scott. As I said at the beginning, a very appropriate soundtrack, it fits the mood perfectly and enhances the visuals no end. I wasn’t sure about Russell Crowe in a romantic comedy, but he pulled it off pretty well. I just wish he could do an English accent. Albert Finney was perfect as Uncle Henry and Marion Cotillard was excellent (as ever) as Fanny Chenal. Honourable mentions go to; Freddie Highmore as Young Max, Abbie Cornish as Christie Roberts, Didier Bourdon as Francis Duflot and Isabelle Candelier as Ludivine Duflot.

A really good script by Marc Klein, based on the novel by Peter Mayle, contains an awful lot of humour and some great one-liners. If I have one gripe, it’s that not enough was made of the romance between Max and Fanny. Unlike most rom-coms, their relationship is not the main feature of the plot. It’s more about Max finding himself again, which, to a great extent, is achieved using flashbacks to his youth and his time with Uncle Henry. Over all, a very engaging gentle romantic comedy with some great comic moments… Recommended.

My score: 7.3/10

(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
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