04 September 2016

A Good Year (starring Russell Crowe)

I was staying with a friend; she suggested a film one evening, when her daughter was there and we were all feeling quite tired. I hadn’t seen this one and it looked interesting, so we watched it, and while it was a bit slow at first I liked it very much by the end.

‘A Good Year’ is about a high-flying and somewhat cold-blooded businessman called Max (Russell Crowe). We see a flashback of him to start with, a young boy (Freddie Highmore) learning to play good chess and taste good wine with his beloved Uncle Henry (Albert Finney). But then the story moves forward to his adult life, and we see the adult Max buying and selling stock, putting people out of business, and caring almost nothing for anything or anyone else.

Max (receives a message that his uncle has died and left him his entire estate. At first he decides to sell, but then makes the trip to France to meet his lawyer… and events conspire to keep him at the estate rather longer than he expected.

The overall storyline is somewhat predictable; it’s a fairly well-worn theme to have someone forced into a more relaxed lifestyle and discover what is really important to them. It could have been jaded, but I thought it was very well done. Perhaps Max is a bit too obnoxious at times, but there’s supposed to be a bit of humour in it. I don’t find that kind of thing amusing, but then it makes the scenes where he’s caught at the chateau more acceptable somehow. Those who like slapstick would probably find some of them quite funny; they were nicely done without going on too long.

There are one or two unexpected events that add to the change-of-heart storyline, and some that’s predictable, including a romance. I don’t know that I’d want to see it again, but it was pleasant to watch, and some of the scenery is sumptuous.

Rated 12 (PG-13 in the US) which I think is a tad low; there’s quite a bit of bad language and, if nothing actually explicit, a great deal of implied suggestive content. There are also scenes of a young child tasting wine, which could be shocking in some contexts. I’d have rated the film as 15. However it’s unlikely to be of interest to anyone under the age of about 18 or even older.

Review by copyright 2016 Sue's DVD Reviews

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