A Good Year (2006)
After years of no contact with his Uncle Henry, London banker and bond trader Max Skinner learns that Henry has died intestate, so Max inherits a château and vineyard in Provence. Max spent part of his childhood there, learning maxims and how to win and lose, and honing his killer instinct (at chess, which serves him well in finance). Max goes to France intent on selling the property. He spends a few days there, getting the property ready to show. Memories, a beautiful woman, and a young American who says she's Henry's illegitimate daughter interrupt his plans. Did Max the boy know things that Max the man has forgotten?
Max Skinner is a cutthroat London investment broker who has always done ungentlemanly things to get ahead, although he has been more blatant about it when he became an adult and got into the business world. He is completely obsessed with work, with the occasional casual sexual liaison with women who catch his eye as his only diversion. Despite being estranged for years when Max in his own words became an "asshole", he learns that through a legal issue, he, as the sole living relation, has inherited his Uncle Henry Skinner's entire estate, which includes a now run-down château and vineyard in the Provence region of France. Max spent much time with Uncle Henry at the château as a child after his parents died. For twenty years, the vineyard has been under the production of Francis Duflot, who, despite his dedication, only produces second rate wines with the existing vines, while the land itself is maintained by the landowner. Max has no intention of keeping any of it, planning to fix up the place cosmetically in a few days before selling the entire lot, which may leave the Duflots out in the cold, about which Max does not care. In Provence, all of Max's plans could change by: some issues around the latest not quite ethical trades he authorized; the appearance of a young American wine brat named Christie Roberts who is looking for a connection to her past; Max's encounters with a local woman named Fanny Chenal with whom there is a fine line between love and hate; and sensory memories of his Uncle Henry and what he tried to teach him in those formative years.
A British investment broker inherits his uncle's chateau and vineyard in Provence, where he spent much of his childhood. He discovers a new laid-back lifestyle as he tries to renovate the estate to be sold.
- In a prologue, the audience is introduced to young Max Skinner, who spends his summer holidays learning to appreciate the finer things in life from his Uncle Henry at his vineyard estate in Provence in southeastern France. As an adult, Max is an aggressive, hard-working London-based trader whose schemes to make money come dangerously close to criminal activity. Upon word of his uncle's death, he learns he is the sole beneficiary of the property and travels to Provence to prepare it for a quick sale. Shortly after his arrival, he discovers that his latest financial stunt has landed him in hot water with the government and with his firm's management, necessitating his return to London later in the day. Before heading back to the airport, in order to assist his realtor with the sale, he hurriedly snaps photos of the estate, and in doing so, falls into an empty swimming pool. (He is unable to escape until Fanny Chenal, whose bicycle he ran off the road with his careless driving, turns on the water supply in retaliation.) The resulting delay causes him to miss his flight, and because he fails to report in person to management, he is suspended from work and trading activities for one week.
The week affords Max the time to ready the property for sale. But he must deal with the gruff yet dedicated winemaker, Francis Duflot, who fears that the sale of the estate will separate him from his precious vines. Duflot pays the vineyard inspector to tell Max that the soil is bad and the vines are worthless. They are surprised by the unexpected arrival of young Napa Valley oenophile Christie Roberts, who is backpacking through Europe and presents herself as Henry's previously unknown illegitimate daughter looking for her long-lost father. Max fears that she might also lay claim to the estate and tries to keep her happy until she decides to leave. Worried about being usurped by his second-in-command in London (through whom Max continues to direct trades but who takes all the credit) Max intentionally gives the ambitious trader bad advice which gets him fired. Max is also enamored of the very beautiful yet entirely feisty local café owner Fanny Chenal, who is rumored to have sworn off men. He successfully woos Fanny, who leaves Max the next morning expecting him to return to his life in London. Christie, having learned that Max intends to betray Henry's passion, leaves Provence, and Max sells the estate and returns to his life in London.
Back in London, management offers Max a choice: "money or your life" either a discharge settlement which includes "a lot of zeros" or partnership in the trading firm in which he would be "made for life". Max chooses the money and cleverly negates the sale of the estate by orchestrating through a forged letter from Henry that Christie has a valid claim on the property. He puts up his London residence for sale and returns to Provence, entering into a relationship with Fanny, while Christie and Francis must reconcile their vastly different philosophies of wine production and jointly run the vineyard.