A Good Year

There is a new blockbuster film with a vineyard theme out on dvd now. It’s “A Good Ye ar”, starring Russell Crowe. The cast are: Russell Crowe, Albert Finney, Marion Cotillard, Abbie Cornish, Freddie Highmore and Didier Bourdon. Crowe plays Max Clifford, a London investor, who finds himself as the heir to a small French vineyard in an 18th Century chateau nestled in the heart of Provence.

A Good Year has been directed by Ridley Scott, of Alien, Bladerunner and Gladiator fame. Scenes were shot at Chateau La Canorgue in Luberon, which makes organic wine under the appellation Cotes de Luberon. The film is based on a novel by Peter Mayle, with input from his friend Scott, who has a vacation home and vineyard in Luberon, where Mayle has lived for many years.

As the film opens, eleven-year-old Max Skinner (Freddie Highmore) is being educated in the gentle art of savouring life – and wine – while summering on the vineyard estate of his earthy aesthete uncle Henry (Albert Finney).

Fast forward twenty-five years: Max (Russell Crowe) has become a self-satisfied financier, a trail of dodgy deals, one-night stands and tyrannized underlings in his wake. He has just made another killing when he learns Henry has passed away, leaving Max the sole beneficiary. Max smells a profit and arranges a quick trip to France to appraise the old property. But can he callously sell off this vestige of his idyllic childhood?

The crumbling chateau is falling apart and then there are the locals to deal with. There’s M. Duflot (Didier Bourdon), the surly estate winemaker, who stubbornly clings to his post and the town siren, Fanny (Marion Cotillard), who haughtily fends off advances from a smitten Max.
Max is tempted to make a go of it – especially when his best friend, a realtor (played by Tom Hollander), tells him that the winery could be worth millions. But his plans may be foiled by Christie Roberts (played by Abbie Cornish, from the Hunter Valley wine region), who claims to be Skinner’s uncle’s illegitimate daughter – and therefore legitimate owner of the chateau.

Crowe is quoted as saying:

“…The only time I do a film is when I read something that touches my heart and that’s one of the major thematics of the movie I’m working on now–that people never die as long as you keep them in your heart. For me that’s a cool place to be telling a story from”

This sounds like a “feel good” movie and I am looking forward to watching it in the comfort of my own lounge with a good bottle of Lamonthe Vincent Rose. Other good wine themed movies to look out for are “Sideways” starring Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church and “French Kiss” starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline.

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