Good Year
Russell Crowe has figured out the best reason to visit France.

Theatrical Release Date: 11/10/2006
Director:Ridley Scott
Cast:Russell Crowe, Marion Cotillard, Abbie Cornish, Freddie Highmore & Albert Finney

Straying far from his traditional genre of shoot-em-ups and hyperactive editing style, Ridley Scott is the captain of the ship “A Good Year”.

In the film, Russell Crowe plays a stockbroker who has become so enamored with money he’s forgotten to have a life. His character inherits a French estate from a beloved Uncle (Finney) he had fallen out of touch with as he began his ascent to materialism.

While there, he falls in love with a beautiful waitress (Cotillard), discovers a possible relative (Cornish) and reminisces about his childhood (his younger self played by Highmore) spending time with his Uncle there.

Adding it all up, “A Good Year” feels very much like a book brought to life.

Of course, that’s because it is, (the novel being written by Peter Mayle) and usually, that’s a bad thing.

If you can tell the film was based on a book or a play, it’s normally because of the pacing or weird jumps through time to advance the plot.

You might not quite put your finger on it but you can tell that the story is developing in an odd fashion.

In “A Good Year”, everything felt very well thought out and methodical (in a good way). The credit goes to Scott who realized that there are certain beats a film like this has to hit and they are all here.

Crowe starts as the stereotypical, greedy businessman who thinks he has everything because he can buy just about anything. As he reconnects with his past and finds another path for his future, he realizes what’s important and has to decide whether to continue towards filling his house with expensive things or filling his life with important people.

There’s a warm, feel good aura all over this film. It unfolds like a good book (though I have yet to read it due to a nasty literature allergy). Frankly, I’m not sure what else to say but that this is a nice, comfort film for people who enjoy the message of enjoying life, not being consumed by it.

All of the acting is well done, Scott does a nice job of balancing the past and present narratives and the scenery is gorgeous. It reminds me that I need to travel a lot more that I do.

Yes, it’s formulaic and there isn’t much new territory to be explored here. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Sometimes you just want to sit and enjoy being whisked away for a few hours.

If you like a more traditional romantic film set in beautiful locations, “A Good Year” is a good thing to pick up. I’m giving it a 3 out of 5. Now someone call my travel agent.