I’ve had ‘A Good Year’ in my stack of DVDs to watch practically since it was released in 2007. With Russell Crowe as the star, his longtime filmmaking partner Ridley Scott as the director and producer, and a cool old vineyard as the local, how could I go wrong?
Well, it’s kind of an odd movie. First of all, it’s not the usual type of film that Ridley Scott makes. Sure, he’s been involved with hundreds of film and TV projects over the years, but I think of him in terms of the big-budget, high-action films early in his career, like the ‘Alien’ franchise, ‘Blade Runner,’ and ‘Gladiator.’
So here comes ‘A Good Year,’ based on a book by Peter Mayle, in which Crowe stars as a British investment broker who inherits his Uncle Henry’s (Albert Finney) chateau and vineyard in Provence, where he spent much of his childhood. He’s pretty Type-A in his business dealings back in London, but as he starts to renovate the estate to be sold, he gets a little wakeup memory of the laid-back life he knew as a child. And then he can’t remember why he ever left the place that he’s starting to find intoxicating again.
Marion Cotillard plays the girl in Provence who catches his eye, and Abbie Cornish is the cousin he never knew he had. She shows up at the estate claiming to be Henry’s daughter.
The movie doesn’t fit neatly into any category, which is one of its strengths. I’d call it a romantic drama, but mainly, it’s a journey of self-discovery of a middle-aged man who isn’t sure if everything he’s struggled for – becoming a high-powered broker – is what he’s supposed to be doing.
Because of the actors involved, I recommend seeing ‘A Good Year’ if you have a free couple of hours sometime. I like that the story kind of meanders a bit, and there are a couple of plot twists that you don’t really see coming. It also has a pretty cool soundtrack.
Images: Fox 2000