Monday, July 23, 2012

Paris In July - "A Good Year"

 Paris In July 2012 is turning out to be much easier for me than I anticipated, thanks to movie and fortuitous timing. One night as we were flipping through channels trying to decide on a movie to watch, we happened to catch the start, on IFC, of "A Good Year," a movie neither of us had ever seen and knew nothing about. It struck us immediately as the kind of quirky little movie set in a foreign country that we're so fond of so we gave it a shot. The movie, released in 2006, was surprisingly directed by Ridley Scott. I had no idea he could direct anything other than blockbuster action movies. The movie's synopsis:

"London-based investment expert Max Skinner (Russell Crowe) travels to Provence to tend a small vineyard he inherited from his late uncle. When he gets suspended from his job under suspicion of fraud, he settles into life at the chateau, remembering the time he spent there as a child. Then a determined young California girl (Abbie Cornish) arrives claiming to be the illegitimate daughter of the deceased uncle and rightful owner of the vineyard."
Albert Finney and Freddie Highmore
 I'm not sure that synopsis does the movie justice. For one thing, the young girl does not come making claims on the vineyard, she has come to finally meet her father (played in flashbacks by Albert Finney) only to discover she's too late. From there on, she simply wants to immerse herself in her father's life, to learn about him. It turns out the girl knows a little something about vineyards but that only makes for comedy, not strife.

Russell Crowe
Max decides early on that if he fixes the place up a bit, he might just be able to make a nice profit off selling the chateau and vineyards and spends most of the movie working to that end.  But, as you've probably already surmised, he begins to grow fond of the chateau's quirky staff, the beauty of the land, and the ease of the lifestyle. Every where Max looks, he is reminded of the time he spent with his uncle, the lessons he learned, and the joy that he found there. Despite a rocky start, Max is also smitten with the gorgeous Fanny (Marion Cotillard), which just might make it even harder to sell the place.  

Marion Cotillard
Oh sure, it's fairly predictable and Crowe makes no attempt whatsoever to trade in his Australian accent for a British accent.  But both of us (The Big Guy and I) found the movie charming, although he would have liked to see a bit more of Finney. It's the kind of movie that, if I were flipping channels and came across it, I would watch again and enjoy. We would both recommend "A Good Year." 

That young boy pictured above? Is he looking familiar? For some strange reason, I immediately remembered him as Pete Llewellyn from "Finding Neverland" (another movie we would both recommend, starring Johnny Depp as J.M. Barrie and Kate Winslet as the mother of the boys who ostensibly inspired Peter Pan). You'll probably remember him best, as did The Big Guy, as Charlie Bucket from 2005's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (also, of course, starring Depp).                                                                                                


  1. This sounds wonderful to me!!! I'm noting it and going to add it to Netflix!!

  2. I would love to see this one when I am in the mood for something quieter and calmer. It sounds like a great movie that has the essence of France down to a T. I am going to make space for this movie on my Netflix queue. A friend of mine and I love to watch these kinds of movies. A nod and smile to your mention of my boyfriend, Mr. Depp as well!

  3. Thanks for the review - always looking for good movies with quality actors involved such as Albert Finney and Freddie Highmore.

  4. Thanks for this review. I don't know that I've heard of this movie- I don't tend to follow Russell Crowe, indeed it tends to put me off. But this sounds interesting. Anything set in southern France is good for me.