© Twentith Century Fox of Germany GmbH

Ein gutes Jahr (A Good Year)
U.S.A. 2006

Opening 9 Nov 2006

Directed by: Ridley Scott
Writing credits: Marc Klein, Peter Mayle
Principal actors: Freddie Highmore, Albert Finney, Russell Crowe

In this bland comedy, a mean power broker Max Skinner (Russell Crowe) drives to the south of France to inspect a villa and adjacent vineyards which he inherited from his deceased uncle Henry (Albert Finney). Over the years, he had lost contact with the old man who was a deciding influence in his life (according to film flashbacks of Max’s youth). Nostalgic memories, as well as small predicaments, e.g., being imprisoned in a dry swimming pool, cause him to extend his stay. In the end he gives up plans to sell off the old heap; Max mellows and becomes a gentleman farmer. He settles down among the grapes with loyal friends such as his surprise illegitimate cousin Christie from California (Abbie Cornish), a now curvy childhood friend Fanny (Marion Cotillard), as well as Francis and Ludivine Duflot the couple which runs the place. Even his real estate agent Charlie succumbs to the sirens of the sunlit hills. Directed by Ridley Scott, this is not a typical Scott/Crowe film. I suspect that it was an excuse for Scott to spend a tax-deductible vacation in the Province where he has property. I also suspect that it was a favour to Scott’s old friend Peter Mayles, who wrote the book of the same title, a follow-up to his other successful books about the area such as A Year in Province. A Good Year (for wine, of course) is a good film for anyone who wishes to enjoy scenes of a real chateau called La Canorgue set in gorgeous Côtes du Luberon without having to strain even one brain cell. (Becky Tan)

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