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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

A Good Year  

Review: written August 2007

Surprisingly enjoyable diversion into wine, women and gorgeously shot scenery

The story of a callous and irredeemably nasty market trader, who has to go to Provence to take care of his late Uncle's Estate and finds the change of pace gradually melting his exterior.

Although the storyline seems somewhat slight, the screenplay has a lightness to the script which brings at the very least a smile, if not outright laughter in places - this may not be an out and out comedy, but it is certainly light-hearted enough to be entertaining. The characters all have a touch of reality in an exaggerated form, which grounds the movie, albeit through a rosy lens filtered romantic haze. If you are willing to just go with the flow, enjoy the scenery, the gorgeous cast and the languid pace, then you will be well enough rewarded with a lingering smile at the end.

If there is a down side, it is that it's just not the most original of storylines, and in unlikely hands in the form of Ridley `Epic' Scott and Russell `Imposing' Crowe. Ridley Scott doing comedy has a slightly forced feel to it, none more so than when he has Crowe doing slapstick. The scene with Crowe trying to get out of the pool goes on for just a bit too long to be comfortable, and watching Crowe falling about in the mud is somehow just not funny.

All things considered, this is actually a decent movie, elevated to watchability by a combination of Scott's lushly photographed scenery, and the charming flashbacks with Albert Finney as the uncle and Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the chocolate factory, Finding Neverland) as the young Max Skinner.

A Good Year won't be bothering Oscar any time soon and won't remain on anyone's top ten list - but it's a surprisingly effective and charming change of pace for Scott and Crowe.





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