Starring Russell Crowe, Albert Finney, Marion Cotillard, Abbie Cornish, Tom Hollander, Freddie Highmore, Richard Coyle
Written By: Marc Klein
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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A refreshing tale of a British I’vestment trader who inherits his Uncle’s Chateau and Vineyard and rediscovers his love for the beautiful land of Provence. Starring Russell Crowe as Max Skinner, in a role that is a great change of pace for him, and Ridley Scott, who himself has directed a pleasant film that has taken him out of his box as well. With a great supporting cast, and gorgeous visuals with the land of Provence as the backdrop, A Good Year was a more than I expected.
Max Skinner is use to a very work filled lifestyle, and hardly has time to breathe. As a powerful British I’vestment trader, Skinner is the man to beat on the market. Good at his job, Skinner also doesn’t really think about what he used to have. As a child he would spend his time in Provence, France with his beloved Uncle Henry (Albert Finney) and run and play at his Chateau and Vineyard. A magnificent part of the country where the hustle and bustle of London was far away and you could hear a pin drop. Uncle Henry preferred it that way. With a big house and plenty of property, Uncle Henry obviously preferred the quiet life of Provence. Max Skinner would later in life forget about his Uncle and concentrate on his career. Only caring about himself, Max is at first not really shaken by the news of his Uncle Henry’s passing. Arriving upon the Chateau, the first time in over 10 years, the memories start to come back. The purpose of the visit though is to turn around and sell the property to the highest bidder. With a few hiccups back in London, Max is forced to stay there longer than he hoped and the longer he stays there, the harder it is for him to sell it. He soon realizes that he is in love with Provence and the whole atmosphere, not to mention a beautiful local, Fanny Chanel (Marion Cotillard.) Max in the week he has spent in Provence, really does some soul searching and must decide between his love of investing back in London and its fast paced lifestyle, or the Chateau and Vineyard in the south of France that has brought plenty of joy as a youngster and possibly for the rest of his life.
I didn’t really expect much from this film. I saw the previews in the theater and thought “Eh, that’s something I guess I could watch.” For me, watching this film really took me by surprise. I loved how Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe could take on a story that was completely different than they are used to doing. The film makes a person think how important their life can be if they don’t take their work so seriously and to enjoy the finer things in life. That could be a great quiet piece of land away from the noisy city life, or just something that you don’t spend every waking moment thinking about work. I enjoyed the flashbacks as we saw plenty of moments of Max with his Uncle and how he remembered the Chateau. From playing tennis with him as a kid, to jumping into the swimming pool, or visiting the vineyard, Max vividly remembered each part of the property as he would pass through it. I also enjoyed the chemistry of the Vineyard caretaker Francis Duflot and Max as they were sort of on different pages as far as what to do with the property and competed like brothers too. I thought the film had some funny moments as well. Those moments were usually between Max and his long lost Cousin Christie, or between his Real Estate Agent/Best friend Charlie. I thought the film had plenty of things to enjoy like romance, comedy, some drama, and good life lessons. A few extra features were included on the set like Russell Crowe’s music videos for the movie with his band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, a brief one on one with Russell Crowe and Director Ridley Scott and an interactive experience while watching the film. I wish they included a more in depth look at their time on location shooting the film in France and London.
-Postcards From Provence: Behind-the-Scenes Experience
-A Feature-Length Hybrid of Video Featurettes and Audio Commentary by Director/Producer Ridley Scott and Screenwriter Marc Klein
-3 Russell Crowe Music Videos and More
-ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
-SPANISH: Dolby Digital Surround
-FRENCH: Dolby Digital Surround
-Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Favorite Scenes: Big day at work, Lance Armstrong!, Pool incident, Charlie visits, Tennis Match
Running Time: 114 minutes