A few vintages ago, Russell Crowe starred in the Ridley Scott film, A Good Year. Based on the widely popular book written by Peter Mayle, this film adaptation is a collaboration between acclaimed director/producer Ridley Scott and acclaimed Aussie actor, Russell Crowe. This classy film will stay with you and will force you to stop and smell the roses in life while in isolation.
If you dream of exploring the French countryside, the endless bottles of wine to taste while pontificating the meaning of life, or dream of taking a summer walk through a French Chateau's garden, then this film will inspire anyone to start making those travel bookings.
A Good Year follows Max Skinner as a youngster who spends his summers in Provence, at his Uncle Henry's chateau and vineyard. Enter adult Max, who now is a London-based investment banker who inherits his uncle estate. Screenplay writer Marc Klein ensured Max had many cultural clashes with the French characters, that demonstrate the absurdity of each country's culture. From the trendy chic small, but impractical hatchback, Max drives throughout the countryside, to the French bike riders resentment towards Lance Armstrong. Remember this was a time when Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France and international circuit before he was caught using drug enhancers and stripped of his titles.
The performances are fantastic and hard to fault, with director Ridley Scott ensuring that all the mayhem is caught on film. Russel Crowe's impersonation of Peter O'Toole in Sir Lawrence of Arabia in the dirty pool he finds himself submerged in showcases his diverse talents and comedic skills. Legendary actor Albert Finney plays Max's lovable Uncle Henry, who sets the tone at the beginning, for a young Max played by Freddie Highmore of what is expected of a gentleman. The feisty, no-nonsense French local love interest Fanny Chanel played by Marion Cotillard complements Crowe's egotistical London bachelor character. As Max's sidekick, Charlie, played by English actor Tom Holland is delightful, as the money-hungry lawyer friend, who has no filter. And to round out the cast, Australia's Abbie Cornish plays Christie, who forces Max to make some big decisions, along with the superb French actor Didier Bardon, who plays the challenging local French winemaker Francis Duffot. Crowe and Bardon's tennis match is fantastic and a must to watch!
This is a great film to brush up on your French phrases polite and not so polite, along with its culture. With the fantastic French-inspired musical score, you will find yourself humming along to the music while ogling at the food and wine. The film's spectacular scenery of the French countryside, picturesque setting of the run-down French Chateau and vineyard are delightful, as Ridley Scott takes the viewer on a journey, which is something to dream about staying in after isolation.
This romantic comedy will lift anyone's spirits during lockdown and will force you to appreciate the art of making of a good glass of wine and the small, simple, finer things in life.
To read about Peter Mayle's French adventures, you can read his books such as A Good Year, Provence, Provence in Ten Easy Lessons and My Twenty-five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now at online bookstores. The film A Good Year is available on Netflix.