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A Good Year (2006)

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A British investment broker inherits his uncle's chateau and vineyard in Provence, where he spent much of his childhood. He discovers a new laid-back lifestyle as he tries to renovate the estate to be sold.

Director:

Ridley Scott

Writers:

Marc Klein (screenplay), Peter Mayle (novel)
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Popularity
3,012 ( 354)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Freddie Highmore ... Young Max
Albert Finney ... Uncle Henry
Russell Crowe ... Max Skinner
Rafe Spall ... Kenny
Archie Panjabi ... Gemma
Richard Coyle ... Amis
Ben Righton Ben Righton ... Trader #1
Patrick Kennedy ... Trader #2
Ali Rhodes Ali Rhodes ... 20-Something Beauty
Daniel Mays ... Bert the Doorman
Nila Aalia ... Newscaster #1
Stephen Hudson Stephen Hudson ... Newscaster #2
Giannina Facio ... Maitre D'
Tom Hollander ... Charlie Willis
Lionel Briand Lionel Briand ... Rental Car Employee
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Storyline

After years of no contact with his Uncle Henry, London banker and bond trader Max Skinner learns that Henry has died intestate, so Max inherits a château and vineyard in Provence. Max spent part of his childhood there, learning maxims and how to win and lose, and honing his killer instinct (at chess, which serves him well in finance). Max goes to France intent on selling the property. He spends a few days there, getting the property ready to show. Memories, a beautiful woman, and a young American who says she's Henry's illegitimate daughter interrupt his plans. Did Max the boy know things that Max the man has forgotten? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Everything matures... eventually. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | French | Russian

Release Date:

10 November 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Un buen año See more »

Filming Locations:

Cucuron, Vaucluse, France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,721,526, 12 November 2006

Gross USA:

$7,458,269
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Duflot's dog is named Tati, presumably after the great French clown and actor-director Jacques Tati. Scenes from some of Tati's films are in the montage shown during the romantic "Boum" sequence. See more »

Goofs

When Maximillian as a child selects from the various vintages of wines, he chooses 1983, which would make him closer to 35 years of age in present day, not the 45 or so that he appears to be. See more »

Quotes

Fanny Chenal: [Fanny approaches a customer who is behind a raised newspaper] Bonjour. Vous avez choisi?
Max Skinner: [lowers newspaper] I think so.
Fanny Chenal: [recognizing him] You sure you don't need more time?
Max Skinner: No, I know what I want.
Fanny Chenal: You're sure?
Max Skinner: Absolutely.
Fanny Chenal: So, what is it to be?
Max Skinner: How's the soup?
Fanny Chenal: The soup is finished.
Max Skinner: Like my job... The fish?
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #18.30 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Breezin' Along with the Breeze
Written by Haven Gillespie, Seymour Simons and Richard A. Whiting (as Richard Whiting)
Performed by Josephine Baker
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Moment Spent with Marion Cotillard Would Make My Year!
27 October 2006 | by tccandlerSee all my reviews

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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