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London-based Investment expert Max Skinner moves to Provence to sell a small vineyard he has inherited from his late uncle. As Max reluctantly settles into what ultimately becomes an intoxicating new chapter in his life, he encounters a beautiful California woman who also lays claim to the property.
Comedy - Very unlike star Russell Crowe and director Ridley Scott's last film
together, this is a very light comedy with a lot of female appeal.
Fans of Crowe should be happy as the film is more or less a one-man show.
Berardinelli, Internet CriticFull Review Good For those who don't mind pictures that fall into predictable rhythms, A Good Year represents a pleasant diversion.
Roger EbertFull Review Good Though predictable in many ways, I thoroughly enjoyed "A Good Year," a pleasant jaunt through one of the most beautiful places on the planet -- encased in a story that ends up making you feel that all is right with the world.
USA TodayFull Review Below Average Unless you like your stereotypes intact and your comedy forced, it'll be a better weekend if you stay away from A Good Year.
Note: The rating
above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on
their review. We are not affiliated with these critic's in any way.
OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
Based on a theater exit polling of 92 moviegoers:Oddly enough, the adult males enjoyed "A Good Life" more than the ladies. Just over half the guys rated it Excellent or better, which is great. Most of the remaining opinions were good, but not great. They enjoyed the movie, rating it in the above average to average range. A few rated it below average. Since no one truly disliked it, I have no problem recommending "A Good Life" to guys who are confidant that this is the type of movie they enjoy. If you're only interested in blood, guts and action then this movie's not for you.
The female opinions are also very good, but there are quite a few who didn't rate "A Good Year" real high. About two-thirds truly enjoyed this movie rating it Very Good, or higher. Unfortunately, there were more opinions of Good than I like to see. Also troubling is the few opinions of Fair and Poor. I have no problem recommending "A Good Year," but if you aren't sure this is your type of movie then I strongly recommend a matinee.
Confident and cocky, headstrong and handsome, Max Skinner (Russell Crowe) is a successful London
banker who specializes in trading bonds. A financial barracuda on the banks of the Thames,
Max devours the competition in his efforts to conquer the European market. His latest
conquest has netted a tidy seven-figure profit, much to the chagrin of his Saville Row-draped
rivals. Max's triumph is in perfect keeping with his philosophy: winning isn't everything,
it's the only thing!
Soon thereafter, Max receives word from France alerting him to sad news: his elderly
Uncle Henry has passed away. Max, Henry's closest blood relative, is the sole beneficiary of
his estate, which includes a Provençal chateau and vineyard, La Siroque, where Henry
cultivated grapes for over thirty years.
Max travels to the chateau where he spent his boyhood summers vacationing with his
eccentric uncle, whom he hasn't seen or written to in years. While Max tends to the legal
affairs of his inheritance, he is suspended from his firm, pending an investigation into his
questionable bond transaction.
With his future in London in flux, Max reluctantly begins settling into life at the
chateau. He reunites with the chateau's longtime vigneron, Francis Duflot (still tending the
vines after three decades), whom Max remembers from his boyhood visits. Duflot's
exuberant wife, Ludivine, the estate's housekeeper, warmly welcomes Max back.
Max is uncertain as to whether life in the South of France suits him. He rings up his
best friend, London realtor Charlie Willis, to inquire as to what a small chateau and winery
like La Siroque would command on the current market. Charlie advises Max that small
wineries with a good product can bring several million dollars, as boutique wine, made in
small batches, is the rage in wine shops. It's money in the bank for Max should he lose his
As Max fondly embraces the memories of summers past (spent with a man whose
wisdom and philosophy helped Max chart his successful career) while contemplating a
cloudy future, a complication arises with the sudden arrival of a determined,
twentysomething California girl, Christie Roberts. Christie, a Napa Valley native, claims to
be the illegitimate daughter of the deceased uncle. The revelation, if true, makes her Max's
cousin and, according to French law, the beneficiary of La Siroque.
Suspecting Christie may be a fraud, Max questions her about her past while bickering
with her over the fate of the vineyard, whose plonk (as the French define bad wine) rivals the
worst vinegar imaginable. Max, who has tasted La Siroque's awful vin de pays, also finds
some other bottles in Uncle Henry's cellar bearing the name Le Coin Perdu (‘the lost
corner'). This mysterious, legendary vin de garage has fetched thousands per bottle on the
black market for years, according to the fetching local cafe owner, Fanny Chenal, with whom
Max has become smitten.
Where does the wine come from, and why is Duflot so insistent on staying at La
Siroque whatever the vineyard's fate? And, what about some unusual vines discovered on
the property by Christie, which the crusty vintner claims are experimental in nature, and a
renowned oenologue has deemed unworthy?
Max's memories and the passage of time bring forth emotions and feelings he
thought were long lost, and afford him a new appreciation of his late Uncle Henry's
philosophy on life – and on life in Provence: "There's nowhere else in the world where one
can keep busy doing so little, yet enjoy it so much!”