A Good Year (2006) Poster

(2006)

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9/10
Better than the critics say
Drtimk12 November 2006
Like the reviews overseas,Australian critics have generally snubbed this film as bland and contrived with some nasties regarding Russell's accent and wooden comedy delivery.

I thoroughly enjoyed this intoxicating film which I agree has its faults, however it succeeded in its core themes of love,friendship and beauty as being central to a well lived life.

I feel Crowe does a good job as Max, an arrogant and ruthless bonds dealer who inherits a château from his Uncle Henry(Finney). Initially interested in how much money this can make, circumstances necessitate a longer stay whereby Max begins to recall his many enjoyable Summers spent with his Uncle at the Provençal château.

Marion Cotillard provides the love interest as the beautiful and tempestuous Dark French girl and young Aussie star Abbie Cornish contrasts as the fair blond Californian beauty who is Henry's illegitimate daughter. Both perform well though I know Cornish is much more capable than this role requires.

The movie is a little uneven at times as Max learns his lesson on what is truly important in life.Sometimes the comedy is light, sometimes slapstick, and all this juxtaposed with some sentimentality and more serious moments. Most of the characters are contrived from Max through to the peasant French verniers. However in spite of this the story unfolds in a believable way and the photography is stunning as you would expect of the Province and Scott.The women are gorgeous, the wine looks delicious and the food makes you salivate. It succeeds in its attempt to seduce and makes one a little sad to return to suburbia as I did.

Finally,on Crowe.I feel there are many critics who love to pan Crowe. It has become the fashion.How he missed out on a nomination for Cinderella Man is beyond me.(Though he would not have beaten Hoffman or Phoenix). He is obviously still anathema in Hollywood and to many critics a man they love to hate because he is simply not liked.One critic criticised him in this film because he was unlikeable but surely that was the point! At least he is an actor who acts. I mean Hugh Grant plays Hugh Grant and Tom Cruise plays Tom Cruise.But with Crowe, he always plays his character.And a good job he does once more.

All in all 7 1/2 out of 10.And definitely more delicious on the big screen.
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7/10
Very enjoyable - ignore the reviews!
sarum1005 November 2006
This is definitely the first time I have gone to see an Russell Crowe and/or Ridley Scott film at the cinema, fully bracing myself to be disappointed and...

I am very pleased to be able to say that I enjoyed it thoroughly. It has a very warming glow to it - beautifully played; gorgeously shot. Anyone who isn't just a little bit seduced by Provence after seeing it needs their head (or more likely their heart) examining. The lessons may well have been taught in a hundred films before, but that doesn't make them any less relevant or resonant for the commercial era in which many of us now live...

So, why the terrible reviews? I really don't know. The comedy was not overplayed in the way implied by the critics at all. To be blunt, it was not really necessary, as the warmth and effectiveness of the film and story lies in the romantic drama. The comedy is fine, but doesn't really add anything to the film. However, it does give it a very upbeat, cheerful and likable feel and maybe that is reason enough.

Max's character and Russell Crowe's performance? It's in the quieter moments where Crowe really excels and shows just why someone would want to cast him, as opposed to say Hugh Grant, in a film like this. His reactions to memories and the things that other characters do and say are just so much deeper and more real than Grant is capable of: which is why Grant always comes off as the same character in these films (a variation on the Grant formula) and Max comes off as real.

It almost seems as though the critics have a film with this plot pegged into a box: because they can only see (and can only expect to see) a Hugh Grant characterisation, they cannot accept anything other than a Hugh Grant characterisation. Whereas the actual reason that Crowe doesn't come off as Hugh Grant is because he isn't channelling that kind of characterisation at all. This is a very different kind of film.

Also, the critics seem to be completely off the mark in assessing the character, when they say that he starts off a bastard and ends a bastard too. Actually, this is far more about unearthing other qualities - not completely rejecting those 'bastard' qualities that he begins the film with, but refining and diluting them, as he becomes more and more adjusted to his past. He doesn't change, he opens his heart and mind to qualities that he has been ignoring within himself. You can see that other Max from the moment he opens the letter telling him Henry is dead - but he tries to resist the feelings that are clearly there, in large part because he doesn't want to face the fact that he has let his Uncle down - and all of the guilt that is allied with that.

The film is not the best film I have ever seen. The questions it asks are fairly fundamental, but they aren't startling or especially thought provoking.

But the film is highly enjoyable, from start to finish; and it's warm, something that is pretty rare in films these days.

So, to end, clearly I am not in tune with the critics - but then, increasingly that seems to be the case nowadays. I just think that I see completely different films to them...
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8/10
A tasty vintage
critter-2613 October 2006
A Good Year is much like Peter Mayle's other books – shortish, picturesque, sometimes mouthwatering, generally light and definitely charming.

To that end, this film does the book excellent justice and even manages to make the cinematic transition without losing or adding much in the process. (Max has however become a blend of Wall Street's Gordon Gecco and Capt. Aubrey – a cold power hungry cut-throat exterior with a bit of a romantic hedonist hiding a Depardieu-like charming buffoon locked inside.) Sir Ridley Scott makes it clear that the real star here is the Provencal countryside in all of its golden sun soaked glory. Russell is the fulcrum that moves us from one beautiful scene to the next, lightly shuffling and dancing in over-sized pajamas with a suit jacket and a tie for a belt.

And oddly, this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

As obvious as the story line is (both in the book and the film) it remains absolutely charming and Crowe's performance is an essential part of what makes it work, hammy or no. He looks great and his trust in Scott as a director allows him to simply have fun here – a nice break from all of the heavy (and often heavy handed) Oscar bait bio-pics he's pigeonholed himself into recently.

The rest of the cast is picture perfect. I've been waiting to see when Freddie Highmore would play a young Russell and he's lovely here, big eyed and gracefully gawky as young Max. He holds his own against Albert Finney's lovingly blustery Uncle Henry. Marion Cotillard is gorgeous as Fanny and also sturdy enough to hold her own against both Max and Crowe himself. Abbie Cornish is pretty and sweet and her American accent is damn near perfect. Isabelle Candelier is a colorful counterpoint to Max's stuffy British ways, but it is Didier Bourdon who nearly walks away with the picture. His is a character we haven't seen done a million times before and whose eyes hint at a story equal in richness to the Château itself. Archie Panjabi is Max's assistant, a character created for the film. As the all knowing and mischievously wicked Gemma she appears ready to run away with this picture. (And as always watch for a cameo by Ridley Scott's longtime partner Gianina Facio – I won't spoil your fun by telling you where she appears.) Again, there is nothing new or groundbreaking here. It will be compared to Under the Tuscan Sun and a long history of countless other films of this nature – an attractive woman or handsome bastard gets in touch with who they really are, gets back to basics and becomes who they were always meant to be.

Forgive me for taking this path, but the wine/film comparisons are inevitable with this one.

Like most of the films made today the fresh elements in this film come from the particular vision of the film maker, the chemistry of the cast and the way all of it can come together in a charming and palatable fashion. In other words, the blending of the key ingredient's.

It all comes down to being a matter of chemistry, craftsmanship and preference. Chemistry causes the grape to ferment and become wine. Craftmanship and experience make that wine something worth drinking. Chemistry amongst the elements of a film – story, cast and setting makes these pieces form a cohesive whole. Craftsmanship and experience make it a palatable film.

And the rest is simply a matter of taste.

Though it lacks the crisp originality of a sauvignon blanc, the hipness of a pinot grigio or the bold edginess of a Cabernet, but the elements here come together to make a film that plays pleasantly over the tongue like a decent rose – easy to sip and enjoy and given the chance could well leave you with the warm glow of a late summer afternoon.

But enough with the wine clichés! You could easily take advantage of the value of a matinée or opt to wait for DVD, though neither will do the scenery justice. This sweetly charming film will hold up equally well as a date movie, a mid week escape or something that you can take Mom to.

Worth a look.

-Roo's Reviews
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7/10
A Moment Spent with Marion Cotillard Would Make My Year!
TC Candler27 October 2006
Food tastes better there. The women are naturally beautiful. Walks are more romantic. Wine is more complex... but life is less so. France can turn good memories into grand ones. It replaces currency with passion. It replaces accumulation with appreciation.

I believe the above statement to be very true. France is among the loveliest countries that I've ever been privileged to visit. If they had ESPN, I'd consider moving there. So when I heard that Ridley Scott was directing Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard in a film about a money-hungry British stock-broker who is lured into giving it all up for an inherited French vineyard, I thought it would be right up my alley.

To be honest, the film is so far up my alley that I felt my dreams were being violated. I cannot imagine a life more pleasurable than one spent living in a château, overlooking my own vineyard, waking up every morning to the glorious sensation of Marion Cotillard's morning breath. I'm practically orgasmic at that idea.

"A Good Year" is a crystal glass filled to the brim with 1982 Château Margaux... but unfortunately diluted by some city tap water.

As mentioned before, I loved the premise. The cast is equal to the task. The cinematography is only enhanced by the country's natural canvas. The music is eclectic and joyful, ranging from old standards to a traditional up-tempo score to the modern energy of tracks like Alizee's "Moi Lolita" -- which was, oddly, not chosen to play upon the arrival of a certain character. Nevertheless...

Everything about this film is a deliciously prepared meal... on a paper plate. The plate, in this case, is a flimsy script that brushes over too many details, cannot maintain its tone for more than a scene or two, reaches for grandeur without ever attaining it, and presumes its audience is naive and unworldly.

There are just too many scenes in this film that demanded more time and effort. Characters fall in love too easily. Massive decisions are taken too lightly. The tone shifts uncomfortably from romantic to slapstick to tragic to wistful to sarcastic. It all just felt a little forced. Screenwriter, Marc Klein, seems to be trying too hard. And Ridley Scott seems rushed, as though the studio demanded a running time under two hours.

It is a shame really, because the film has greatness in it... but they uncorked the bottle before it had time to mature.

Russell Crowe is relentlessly reliable on screen. He rarely, if ever, gives even a mediocre performance. It is no wonder that he is so highly regarded. I just thought that his character, Max Skinner (too obvious), was written so two-dimensionally as to handcuff his immense talent. I also thought his English accent was a little too "mate, blimey, b*llocks, b*gger, tally ho" -- If you know what I mean.

Marion Cotillard is typically brilliant as Fanny Chenal, the glorious vision of a waitress from the nearby town. She gives the film, and Max, some heart and soul. She is a fiery French lass with shampoo-commercial hair and skin that makes silk seem like sandpaper. I can't get enough of this actress. She is the visual equivalent of Pringles... once you pop, you can't stop.

Relative newcomer, Abbie Cornish, is also very impressive here. Again, her character, like all the others, is somewhat underwritten. She deserved much more screen time. However, this critic is 100% sure that she will have tons of screen time in many major films over the next decade or so. She is a future star, with talent and beauty in equal measures.

"A Good Year" may remind many of the similar Diane Lane adventure from the female perspective, "Under the Tuscan Sun". The main difference, aside from the sex of the protagonist, is that "Tuscan" decided from the get-go that it was going to be a lighthearted romantic comedy. I think that the screenplay for "A Good Year" got a little confused along the way. Sometimes it aims higher... and that is when it works the best. Other times it aims lower... and that is when it dwindles into lame slapstick comedy. If it had maintained a lofty romantic tone, it may have been one of the best films of the year. As it stands, it is a merely a nice film with a pleasant message.

© Written by TC Candler IndependentCritics.com
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8/10
A very enjoyable film with lots of laughs and excellent performances.
frances-375 November 2006
A demographically mixed audience seemed to enjoy this film very much. The photography was beautiful, the acting excellent, and the supporting players added an extra "punch" to the story line. Tho not an exact replica of the book it is based more on a story line running thru Crowe's and Marion's characters. The emphasis being on Crowe's character finding out what is truly meaningful in his very hectic super-charged rather non ethical life. He rediscovers what he is missing i.e. love, trust, and friendships.

A "Great" date movie. The local scenery should definitely be seen on the "big" screen and not on a DVD! Tho not "Oscar" caliber" it is why most film goers go to the movies; pure entertainment and escapism. Ridley and Crowe have achieved that goal. A "Great" date movie and worth the price of admission
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9/10
A Delightful Way to Spend an Evening
lostein10 November 2006
As a longtime fan of Russell Crowe, I do know that he can be funny, charming, sweet and romantic, not only on film but in real life. His recent appearances on the TV promotional circuit have proved this once again. Those who only know his films since LA Confidential for the most part focus on his ability to capture and project power, strength and inner turmoil. Those who have seen his films such as Proof, For the Moment, Love In Limbo and The Sum of Us have seen his ability to show the gentler, funnier and often more uncertain sides of the human experience. (I would also argue that these are readily seen in his films such as The Insider, A Beautiful Mind and Cinderella Man.) A Good Year is a wonderful return to the Russell of those earlier films. Like a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie, you know just where it's likely going to take you, but with such lovely, engaging people in such a wonderful setting you just want to enjoy the trip. And so you shall. What a refreshing change from the overheated, oversexed, over special "effected" and over bloodied fare that Hollywood usually dishes out. Thank you so much Mr. Crowe and Mr. Scott for my little vacation in the South of France!
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8/10
"A Good Year" was a good movie...
Mark DeLisle11 November 2006
I thought the movie was very good... Much better than I expected from the previews.

It's not going to be a Best-Picture Oscar winning movie (I think that should go to "The Departed") but it is not intended to be...

If you need explosions, sex and violence every 10 seconds to keep your attention then no this film is not for you. If you just want a relaxing, well-acted, non-American crappy plot popcorn movie then go check it out.

Well worth the $11 for the ticket which is getting pretty hard to say nowadays...
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8/10
Quality
boofmunce11 November 2006
I enjoyed this movie, it had class and character with some lovely ladies. Also I enjoyed the London footage with the contrast against France. Crowe, I think did very well and I was surprised at the end because I didn't now it was a Ridley Scott movie. It would now be interesting to read the book to see how closely it is represented. All things seemed to fit, and it was evident in last encounter with Crowe and his French girl from the scene of when he was a boy at the pool. Great romantic portrayal of an English French relationship. The movie also maintained a good level of humour encased with good vocabulary. I had heard this was a good movie and am glad to able to cement that in words.
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10/10
Wonderful!!
foxstory19 November 2006
My breath was taken away as I was transported to another place entirely. It was so warmly sentimental I had tears in my eyes many times during the movie,, but in a great way. THis is what movies are meant to do, take us away and out of our ordinary lives to escape and step outside ourselves to reflect on some deeper meaning.

Bravo! Russell Crowe is simply an amazing actor. See this movie at the theater for full cinematic splendor.

I don't know why I haven't heard more about this movie.. I think its been out a while. Russell Crowe is one of those actors who can really choose what films he makes. This should ensure a great movie just by him agreeing to it! He transforms himself into his characters so you're not thinking your watching Russell Crowe.
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8/10
As it's title may imply, "A Good Year" is just that: a good film by Ridley Scott
Sa'ar Vardi9 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I had the chance to see this film during an early press screening in Ramat Gan, Israel, several weeks ago, and was pleasantly surprised. A good friend of mine that came along was thrilled with the views and landscapes and caught up with the dramatic plot, despite having a distinct preference for action flicks. Speaking of which, here's a chance to give a little tip for the guys: although this is generally referred to as a "chick flick", the screen is filled with the presence of 2 beautiful women throughout the film. Watch out for the young Abbie Cornish (who appears in a brief nude sequence, so don't blink) and for the arousing french actress Marion Cotillard as Crowe's love interest throughout the film.

As it's title may imply, "A Good Year" is just that: a good film by Ridley Scott. It's tone reminded me of Scott's Matchstick Men and it's premise is similar to Under the Tuscan Sun. Nonetheless, despite the similarities, Scott managed to create something new and different in this movie, muchly thanks to it's rich plot, vivid characters and breathtaking landscape, that build up an enchanting European atmosphere that allows you to wander off to France for some enjoyable 118 minutes.

The plot follows Maximillian Skinner (Crowe), a young and bright manager in the British stock market that has low morals which bring him high financial results. He's cocky and arrogant, and like all characters that appear in films of this nature, his life is about to change dramatically. This occurs one sunny day when he finds out his Uncle Henry (Albert Finney, who appears in flashbacks throughout the film) has passed away and left him his heritage: a vineyard in Provence, France. Skinner immediately realizes the financial value of the property and boards the first plane to the colorful valley. Arriving there, he is filled with childhood memories through which we see Henry teaching his young oprhan nephew Max (Freddy Highmore, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") the values of life. Meanwhile, the plot thickens when a young attractive American girl arrives, claiming she's Henry's long lost daughter and posing a threat to Henry's inheritance. When problems at work force him into a for-longed leaf of absence, he falls in love with a local French woman and starts unveiling the secrets of the vineyard.

I gave it 8 out of 10, for it is a good way to spend a matinée or an evening with your partner.
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8/10
Plot summary is wrong.
federicone29 September 2006
The American woman does not claim that the land is hers, but tries to know something about his past. Ridley Scott exploit his good taste to create a charming atmosphere, in which Russel Crowe is just an extra piece of the story. The landscapes, the Provence feeling, the interesting women, and the enchanting world of wine makes you fly between the clouds and wonder: "what if I leave my job right now and start living the real life?". Russel Crowe successes in playing a clumsy business man who realizes he has to make a change. Albert Finney minor appearances are brilliant. It is a movie about feelings, enjoying life, and finding yourself. You have to see it.
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8/10
A Nutshell Review: A Good Year
DICK STEEL5 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The first time director Ridley Scott and actor Russell Crowe paired together, they made the award winning Gladiator, and perhaps surprised folks that a mainstream action movie could snag the best picture Oscar. Here, they come together again for a pretty feel good movie, but I don't expect that this would win any major honours. Not that it's a bad film, but it's quite vanilla plain, that you could guess every other step of how the narrative and plot will unfold.

Based on a book by Peter Mayle, A Good Year has plenty of life references to wine and vineyards, made as a comparison and reminder on how to live life. It's quite unlike Sideways, which was more of a road trip movie and had its plot revolve around wine. A Good Year has its revolve around an arse hole of a character, Maximillian Skinner (Russell Crowe), the successful bond trader everyone loves to hate, given his ruthless knack on the trading bourses, and making loads of obscene money.

So he learns that he had inherited a château in France, the same one he had spent his childhood (little Max played by Freddie Highmore) summer holidays in with his Uncle Henry (Albert Finney), but instead the first thing that crosses his mind is, how much is it worth should he sell it?

It's a look at how you want to live life, making loads of money versus living it out with plenty of heart, and love. Love for the people who once made a difference to your life, and love and appreciation of life itself. Time to stop and smell the roses, versus the corporate rat race filled with backstabbing and office politics. And naturally when finding out about oneself, a look back at one's roots will always be a good way to start.

There are a number of sub plots weaved into the movie, like the sudden appearance of a possible illegitimate cousin, Christie (Abbie Cornish), who could complicate matters of inheritance, of the opposition of resident vineyard caretaker Francis (Didier Bourdon), and of course, romance in the form of a feisty French woman Fanny (Marion Cotillard), amongst others. There's also a bit about the different wine standards thrown in, which serves only to confuse, rudimentarily. There's a ring of familiarity to these characters, and at a glance, you would probably be able to guess the parts they play to develop the story, as do the little nagging business bits in the movie, but by making all these threads come together, and certain plot devices as well, only served to deliver up to expectations in an all's well that ends well.

Some random thoughts - I loved the song by Alizee used in the movie, and quite surprised that it actually made it other than just be featured in the trailer. The movie also turned out to be quite the technological showcase, at least in the beginning, accompanying Max's progressive change. You have GPS, and almost an ad feel to Max's use of his PDA phone for calls, photo taking, the whole works. And if you think Crowe's outfits looked snazzy, yes, he's outfitted by Armani.

The very first time I took notice of Russell Crowe, was when he played the villain in Virtuosity. Back then I thought that the guy had something going for him. And I've been convinced, having watched his last 6 movies, that he's a pretty fine actor, though his buffed and gruff demeanour had the tabloids highlighting his every shenanigan. Albert Finney and Freddie Highmore make a good pairing as well, given their limited screen time as the Uncle and his young nephew spending summer together. And don't get me started on the eye candy, who, well, remain eye candy for the most parts.

A Good Year runs on an even keel, and feels light by the time it ends. Let's hope the next collaboration between Scott and Crowe in American Gangster, with the addition of Denzel Washington (who played opposite Crowe in Virtuosity), will be something more explosive.

"Winning's not everything, it's the only thing!" - Maximillian Skinner
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10/10
9
magf11 November 2006
Thank you so much Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe and company for a most delightful 2 hours. I guess I didn't watch the same movie as a lot of critics did but then I never do or very seldom do. I use to faithfully read the reviews when trying to figure out what to see but have been lied to and led astray by to many so I don't really read many now. They have sent me off to some of the most Godawful movies that I very seldom go at all now. I make up my own mind.I do make a point of going to all Russell Crowe movies as I know they will be high quality. Russell Crowe has wonderful comic timing and shows everything on that most expressive face of his and in his eyes. He doesn't miss a beat. Wonderful actor. Ridley Scott , magnificent director in bringing so many different worlds to us the lucky fans.

Not all movies have to be Oscar bait! I highly recommend this movie to take you away from all the woes in this world.

Again.......thanks Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott.........job well done.
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4/10
Incredible and Uninvolving
JackCerf19 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Watching this fantasy of cashing out to live a life of food, wine, sex and sunlit idleness in Provence, you don't suspend disbelief for a minute. Right at the outset we are shown that Russell Crowe's character is exactly what his beloved uncle calls him when he cheats at chess as a boy -- "a little s**t." Now grown up, he enjoys making money by cheating, not so much for the money, though that's nice too, but for the sheer pleasure of dominating others by being smarter, tougher and more ruthless than they are. Since, he's surrounded by agreeably available women in London (the movie tries to make a running joke of flashes and cleavage shots) it is clear that he needn't sleep alone. Nothing Crowe does makes us believe that he is less than perfectly satisfied with the life he leads, or that he would give it up to take up with a Provencal girl and contendedly guzzle home grown wine on the terrace. Nothing convinces that he and she are made for each other, or that she should see him as anything but a good looking rich foreigner who'll be an enjoyable but short-lived roll in the hay. Because Crowe's boss writes him a thumping severance check when he turns down a partnership and leaves the firm, his choice is too easy to be interesting. His buddy the real estate agent has it right. After six months he'll be bored to death, up to his ears in some financial shenanigan, and probably fooling around on his honey just to prove to himself that he can get away with it.

The subplot with the American cousin never gets its feet untangled because the conflict between them over who deserves the property and what to do with it isn't fully developed. She's supposed to be smarter, tougher and more knowledgeable about wine than her youth and good looks indicate, but she doesn't get to do very much with those qualities. Crowe's character can't stand losing. It would have deepened him, and explained his change of life, to have this kid see through him, take him on and beat him at his own game. It would have been a more dramatically satisfying romance to have him try to seduce her, fail, and then fall in love and have to win her. The film hints at those possibilities and immediately backs away.

There's a lot else wrong with the picture. We never feel that Crowe is actually in serious trouble over the financial maneuver that gets him suspended for a week because he never acts like a man who's job is on the line. There are a number of pointless sexual innuendos involving secondary characters that don't go anywhere except, perhaps, the cutting room floor. The rental car foul up is formulaic, not credible and therefore not funny. The smack at a couple of clueless American tourists with Southern accents is smug, gratuitous and irritating. Albert Finney's role of Bacchus as an English gentleman gone native is written by the numbers and phoned in on screen. The flashback structure allows Scott to pull out of the hat whatever rabbits he needs to keep the plot moving, like Crowe's childhood ability to imitate his uncle's handwriting and his one childhood encounter with the woman he falls in love with. That actress, by the way, is too young for a character whom we learn is about the same age as Crowe.

The only really enjoyable performance is Archie Panjabi (who played Parminder Nagra's older sister in Bend It Like Beckham) as Crowe's hip, all knowing secretary. Her work I'd like to see more of.

Bottom line is that this is an unsuccessful variant on the formula High Pressure Guy Finds Self And Love In Laid Back Town. Cars and Doc Hollywood did it better. The Luberon region photographs beautifully, but that's it.
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5/10
Not bad, but full of clichés
jeannie-longo10 November 2007
This movie is like a dream. Provence is always under the sun, peasants are poets, and people just have the good life, always drinking wine (without becoming alcoholic nor fat of course) and eating like kings... I forgot, waitresses are like goddess! But, reality check: in France, we have winters, autumn, ugly people... wine making is also a technical job, and even in Provence, we don't live like we are in 1946 !!!! So even if this movie is not so bad, I can assure you that it's full of clichés! I liked the part of the story which was about materialism, and choices you have to make in your life... but this film can't be a great one when it's based on the "cliche" that every french real estate man would like to provide to it's English customers.

But can we expect an privileged urban American to really understand and put into images le "terroir"? Maybe should we be indulgent, thinking that Scott has done it's best and that after all it's not so bad..
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1/10
Possible parody?
martinoldsberg-124 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The only interesting thing about this film (in the tired genre "Go-to- Provence/Tuscany-and-find-your-true-self") is that it's done by Ridley Scott. Maybe even that isn't very interesting, but the man who directed "Alien" and "Blade Runner" will always prick up the ears of quite a number of people, expecting to see something at least vaguely resemblant of the talent in those films.

"A good year" is bad on such a level that you're waiting for a resolution that confirms your suspicion that this is a parody. However, that never comes. Instead we get low-level farcical characters and corresponding acting throughout the entire thing and nothing to seek comfort from: no hidden messages (or if so, I missed them), no f*** you signs indicating "I'm playing tricks with you: of course I know that this is trite twaddle, but ...". (I thought the speeded up shooting of Crowe's car in the roundabout would be the giveaway. Not so. That was "funny".) Even the dog -- normally solid actors in lousy pictures --is ludicrous.

It's bewildering, but not of such an interest that one should waste an hour and a half of one's life watching it.

If you honestly like this sort of thing then you are to be congratulated: there are thousands of films from the 20's and 30's in exactly this vein. Most of them better.
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2/10
Fairy tale meets stereotypes = not a good mix
dierregi7 July 2009
This movie manages to put together a truckload of stereotypes and a bunch of annoying characters, to deliver a conventional, Cinderella-worth happy ending.

It is supposed to be realistic (the ferocious financial genius, the cynical Londoners, vineyards in Frances … surely all things that exist) but at the same time conveys an idea of fairy tale and unreality.

I am not sure if financial sharks of the type portrayed by Crowe actually exist. I never met one in real life, so for me he is the equivalent of a modern Prince Charming. I am also not quite sure if rich uncles (and aunts) departing from this world and leaving a fortune to a distant heir actually exist, but they are the stuff dreams are made of – they die, you don't even suffer because you haven't seen them in ages and yet you find yourself immensely richer thanks to their departure. Add a magical country, far far away (even if it is just France and not so magical in reality) painted in loving golden tones (by contrast with England, painted in steel gray, cold tones) and you have a blurry scenario to work with.

The main character in this fuzzy territory is your average, cold-hearted guy, working as a financial trader of some sort (the type we saw in many movies since "Wall Street"). He is played by an extremely annoying Russell Crowe, as your cliché British man: arrogant, insensitive and pompous.

His love interest is raising star Marion Cotillard, going down a well-traveled road of her own- the one of the sexy, warm-hearted, spirited (and slightly slutty) French woman.

Add more stereotyped characters to the mix (supplementary sexy French women; a French wine maker who hates the British; an eccentric British uncle; a snotty British secretary) and the predictable result will be the melting of the ice-cold heart of the British guy and his decision to overturn his life for the love of the French gal.

This is not a spoiler as I am pretty sure everybody knows by now (or would imagine, as soon as the movie starts) how it is going to end. Could you possibly imagine Russell not getting the girl and not turning into a decent human being? Honestly, I used to like him, but he is totally insufferable in this movie. There is something absolutely idiotic in the way he is acting – but maybe he was doing it on purpose, to make his character so unlovable. In this case he would have deserved an Oscar.

A final word of warning: for anybody who has never been to France: not all French women are thin, sexy and feisty. In fact, you have all kinds, exactly as you can find in most Western countries.
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5/10
Welcome to the wonderful world of fake choices
petra_ste4 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Would you rather be incredibly wealthy and have a miserable, lonely existence or just *very* wealthy and enjoy a peaceful life in a luscious corner of Provence with a woman who looks like Marion Cotillard? That's the kind of non-choice dished out by A Good Year, which plays like a smarmy credit card commercial, a wish fulfillment fantasy careful to avoid truly difficult, disquieting choices - the ones, you know, which fuel drama and conflict in fiction.

Crowe goes through the motions (first time in his career as far as I recall), adorable Cotillard and Cornish are wasted, and Scott succumbs to his worst instincts, halfway between a travelogue and a luxury perfume commercial.

5/10
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4/10
How can a movie about Provence be charmless?
Karl Owens18 July 2013
People said this was Under the Tuscan Sun. It had none of the charm. I didn't care about any of these characters. Every stereotype of the financial services industry and Provence. Done better elsewhere. The only person I liked was Crowe's assistant. The look wasn't even Provence. I lived there 5 years. It looked and mood was more like Spain. The writing was uninteresting. All this pompous morality about the vines. None of these people deserved to have things turn out well. Their issues disappeared with the wave of a hand. Crowe's love interest suddenly gets over her bitterness and suspicion after one night with Russell. I guess it was the superficiality that got to me. All problems resolved before the commercial.
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6/10
Not very interesting
siderite18 March 2007
The idea is nothing new. Ruthless city slicker (bond broker, of course) remembers his childhood and regains his soul in beautiful sunny Provence, where his uncle had this great vineyard.

From the very beginning I could see that the introspection, written text bits and some of the details did not fit the usual cliché and that it was probably based on a book. Apparently, Ridley Scott had the idea, gave it to a guy to write the book, then, when the book wasn't quite like what he wanted, he made the film based on the book , but with his original idea in the background. And it shows!

The movie is not terribly romantic, even if it has all the setting and opportunity. It is not a very emotional movie, even if it should have evoked feelings of nostalgia and love of nature. It's not even a nature shot film, as the beautiful scenery is mostly wasted in useless scenes and most of the movie is placed either in the city or in the house.

So where does this get us? Nowhere! Just a failure of a film with a failure of a script. Even my wife said it was bad. Bottom line: really boring and implausible.
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6/10
Non Vintage
writers_reign28 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The English critics have more or less blasted this new release unanimously but I went anyway. I'm lion-hearted. And you know, it wasn't too bad. Sure, it owes something to Avanti and Ridley Scott is no Billy Wilder and Russell Crowe is definitely no Jack Lemmon but Marion Cotillard, soon to be seen as Edith Piaf, is more than a match for Juliet Mills. In their wisdom IMDb omit five actors from the initial cast list so that you have to click 'more' to find out that Marion Cotillard, Abbie Cornish, Isabelle Candelier, Didier Bourdon and Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi are also part of the ensemble; leading lady and love-interest Cotillard is arguably the largest omission but Candelier and Bourdon offer huge support throughout, Abbie Cornish is the Californian who turns up looking for her father whilst Bruni-Tedeschi is an avocat. It seems to be a truth universally acknowledged that Russell Crowe doesn't do Charm and/or light comedy but hey, he gives it the old college try and with support like that mentioned it's not such a big deal. It's basically a feel gooder with some great scenery punctuated by some Judge and Andy Hardy lessons in life with Finney in the Lewis Stone role and Crowe as Mickey Rooney but the two hours really do fly by.
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4/10
Fluffy film falls flat.
patnap21 November 2006
This film does have beautiful scenery and a good supporting cast but that's about it. What I found annoying about the film was that it seems there are scenes that are supposed to be funny but are NOT. Speeding up the film and other cinematic tricks do not make a scene funny. And I was just not moved to laugh at the tired stereotypes of Frenchmen. I am not being PC - just bored. So the French are volatile, dirty and obsessed with wine and sex - so what - been there, done that - not funny. I saw this film with a friend who said Russell Crowe was "out of his depth". It seemed a strange comment as the film is just not very "deep" but I think I understand what she meant. Crowe was hot as a gladiator in a dramatic film, but in modern dress and a cute comedy he is just a stick. It would take an actor with a light touch and great personal charm to make me care about this contrived plot and believe the main character's transformation. Maybe Hugh Grant or, if you could go back in time, young Cary Grant could bring it off.
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4/10
Hard to laugh at unsympathetic characters
ryko2523 January 2012
A brash, bullying investment banker played by Russell Crow? Not what I would choose as a central character for a "comedy". This dreadfully unwitty film seems a very odd choice for director Scott and falls as dreadfully flat on it's face as Crow in the film's numerous "hilarious" prat-falls. Is there still a place for slapstick in the 21st Century? Discuss - an interesting title for some dreadfully pointless Film Studies course but if you ARE going to try slapstick then it really doesn't work when your protagonist is a nauseating....(insert obscenity here). When Crow falls from a diving board to land face first in an empty swimming pool, you find yourself very far from laughter but rather hoping that that might be shock end to the film. Broken neck. The End.

But sadly it isn't and we must soldier on with one of the least entertaining/funny films I can recall.
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1/10
A boring pretentious film
Ozzy200013 January 2008
I really respect Ridley Scott but cannot understand why he uses Russell Crowe whose has only two expressions arrogant and conceited . This flabby little man Crowe shows his real pretentious character in playing a pretentious and snotty Merchant broker who inherits a property which has a vineyard. The film goes down hill from there . Drink plenty before you see this crappy film.

The attempts at humour begin with Crowe mumbling his lines as he falls into an empty pool.

Crowe's Indian secretary also tries to lift the movie by trying to be funny by backstabbing Crowe's character on a constant basis. She comes out with a line " ...are you Mad Max..." that was the best of feeble attempts at humour.

Please Ridley stay away from comedy you really stink. For god's sake stop using Russel Crowe unless his your lover.
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3/10
NOT a Very Good Year!!! (The critics are right!)
Julie26 March 2007
First, let me preface this comment with this statement: I love Russell Crowe. He is by far my favorite actor. So I rented this movie, even though the reviews are not the greatest. In fact, I saw Russell being interviewed about this movie, and he didn't even seem too impressed with it. (He's not one to put up a front).

So, even though I really wanted to like this movie, I just couldn't. Here's why:

1. The dialog is very hard to understand. Everyone either has a thick English or French accent. And they all talk really fast and kind of mumble. Very frustrating.

2. The plot is stupid and predictable yet confusing at the same time. I still couldn't tell you how that's possible. Something to do with two different vintages of wine. And so help me, if the British stock market REALLY works as it's shown in the movie, then they are in BIG trouble!

3. The acting is mediocre. Russell is just "phoning it in" as they say. Must have needed the paycheck??? The other actors, not at all noteworthy.

4. This is supposed to be a romantic comedy. There was a little (boring) romance with no real emotional buy-in or interest generated. Comedy? I can't remember anything really funny in the movie. Stupid, yes. Plenty of stupid. Funny, no. It reminded me of a bad sitcom pilot. Honestly. It was that bad.

So in contradiction to all the other commentaries, DO believe the critics. It's not worth your time.
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