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A Good Year (2006)

20th Century Fox

Cast: Russell Crowe, Albert Finney, Marion Cottilard

Rating: PG-13

Run time: 118 mins

Genre: Romantic

Verdict: Beautiful (see rating system)

Most critics got their knickers in such a twist over the prospect of director Ridley Scott and his Gladiator star Russell Crowe making a gentle romantic comedy that they missed out on a fine little flick.

The idiots panned the movie. Shame. A film like this demands we surrender to nostalgia, relive long forgotten childhood memories and see if it’s not too late to live life a different way.

That’s the setup for Crowe, who plays the ruthless London share dealer Max, who knows how to make money, but has forgotten how to enjoy himself or form a deep relationship with a woman.
After making a spectacular - and possibly illegal killing on the markets one day - Max
learns his eccentric uncle Henry (Albert Finney) has died in France. As the only surviving relative Max has apparently inherited the small French vineyard where he spent many happy boyhood holidays.

At first Max wants a quick sale, but when he visits the estate in Provence, beguiling memories come tumbling back, forcing Max to re-evaluate his life and values. He also feels guilty over not contacting his uncle for the last 10 years of his life.

When Max tangles with the fiery, but stunning, cafe owner Fanny (Marion Cotillard) a tantalizing new vision of what life could be presents itself. But is Max, who counts life in terms of monetary value, brave enough to seize the day?

\A host of well drawn characters, gorgeous locations and a witty, perceptive script make this as smooth as vintage wine. The soundtrack - dripping nostaligia from the likes of Noel Coward and Edmundo Ros - is also terrific.

The DVD includes a good documentary on the making of the film.

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