A Good Year

A Good Year Image
Metascore
47

Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 69 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Based on the novel by Peter Mayle, this is the story of an Englishman (Crowe) who suddenly finds himself the owner of a small vineyard in Provence.

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 33
  2. Negative: 4 out of 33
  1. 75
    Gorgeous photography and strong acting keep the formula from becoming stale. For those who don't mind pictures that fall into predictable rhythms, A Good Year represents a pleasant diversion.
  2. It's an art-house genre piece, very much in the tradition of "Enchanted April," "Shirley Valentine" and "Under the Tuscan Sun." But, a few charming scenes aside, A Good Year is in the hands of the wrong star and wrong director.
  3. 63
    Broad, hackneyed and stultifyingly predictable.
  4. The overall effect is one of a sumptuously laid table where the main course is overcooked.
  5. 50
    Though he invests every ounce of his considerable charisma in the lead role, Russell Crowe still comes across as a man unworthy of the paradise offered to him.
  6. Nothing more than a bad harvest.
  7. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    20
    There isn't a milliliter of honest feeling from start to finish, and precious little comedy or romance.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 23
  2. Negative: 5 out of 23
  1. Aug 31, 2013
    10
    Poor, Poor Film critic You can't realise when you see a little good film when you see it !
    This film is just one of the best Romance film i
    Poor, Poor Film critic You can't realise when you see a little good film when you see it !
    This film is just one of the best Romance film i have seen !
    Thx a lot Mr Scott Thx a lot For all ure flims
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  2. RastyR
    May 24, 2009
    10
    Excellent movie with great characters. Maybe plot is some way predicable but anyway movie presents great entertainment.
  3. EdwardL
    Oct 17, 2009
    10
    This is one of my favorite romantic comedies.
  4. Dec 30, 2011
    7
    This is a good film, despite the fact that the story isn't very special. It's well played, and it must said: great locations! We get to knowThis is a good film, despite the fact that the story isn't very special. It's well played, and it must said: great locations! We get to know a fine part of France, - this beauty has been translated perfectly in the film. About the acting: it was ok, I think Marion Cottilard did the best job, Russell Crowe was ok. The music suited this picture, it was a beautiful puzzle. Enjoy this film, but not expect a great story. Expand
  5. Mar 27, 2016
    5
    A light rose from Ridley Scott compared to the hefty cabernets he usually turns out, “A Good Year” is a divertissement, an excuse for theA light rose from Ridley Scott compared to the hefty cabernets he usually turns out, “A Good Year” is a divertissement, an excuse for the filmmakers and cast to enjoy a couple of months in Provence and for the audience, by proxy, to spend a couple of hours there.

    Story of a rapacious London bonds trader tempted to opt out of the fast lane for life at an inherited chateau is more than a bit self-referential for both Scott and the source book’s author, Peter Mayle. The two worked together in the advertising and commercials world 30 years ago, with Mayle eventually giving it up to write books, beginning with the massively successful “A Year in Provence” in 1991. Scott also has a home and vineyard in the area.

    So when the allure of the simple life is expressed here, it is only on the most fantastic terms, with the best wine, food, views and women already in place for instantaneous consumption. As a real-life fantasy it’s hard to beat; as a film, it’s an agreeable slice of lifestyles-of-the-rich voyeurism.

    After a brief prologue devoted to conceited British boy Max (Freddie Highmore) being indoctrinated in the finer points of wine by his life-lusting Uncle Henry (Albert Finney) at the latter’s estate in the south of France, Max (Russell Crowe) enters as an even more self-satisfied adult on the trading floor, finessing a fantastic profit in one session that raises the ire of his rivals.

    Notified that his uncle has died and left him the chateau, he flies down to wrap up the paperwork to facilitate a quick sale of the property, which promises to net Max another small fortune. Heedless of the feelings of his uncle’s longtime winemaker Francis (Didier Bourdon) and the latter’s wife, Ludivine (Isabelle Candelier), Max cares about nothing but money and winning, and while in France relishes driving past a bunch of bicyclists and yelling gleefully at them “Lance Armstrong!”

    Given that the estate’s little dog is named Tati and that clips from “M. Hulot’s Holiday” and “Mon Oncle” are glimpsed at one point, it’s safe to assume Scott admires the great French comic filmmaker Jacques Tati. Along those lines, Crowe takes quite a few pratfalls in the course of the film, including one into a waterless swimming pool with walls too high to climb up, a predicament that allows him to begin his sparring match with lovely local restaurant owner Fanny (Marion Cotillard), who’s sworn off men.

    But in a story like this, it can only be a woman who makes the blind man see the light. And so it is when Max and Fanny, two young but hard souls — who, they figure out, once met as children on the land — finally come together in an endearing breakthrough scene extremely well played by Crowe and Cotillard. For a moment, pic approaches a level of genuine intoxication.

    Rather than for its more rambunctious physicality, pic is often more appealing in its throwaway asides, such as the one in the pool when a filthy Max mincingly mutters the famous lines from “Lawrence of Arabia” about why Lawrence likes the desert: “It’s clean. I like it because it’s clean.”

    His hair smoothed and straightened into something like a 1920s look, and outfitted with glasses much of the time, Crowe executes a lightweight change of pace with his charisma entirely intact, even if he still hasn’t mastered an English accent that fits comfortably with Finney’s or Highmore’s. There are moments when the enchanting Cotillard resembles a Gallic, dark-haired Reese Witherspoon, and Aussie thesp Cornish, in her first Hollywood film, continues her quick ascent with a perfect Yank accent and a nice note of observant reserve.

    The setting could hardly be made to look less than glorious, and production standards are up to what one expects from a Scott picture. All the same, lensing is not as resplendent as it might have been; numerous shots sharing bright and dark areas aren’t well balanced, and faces are sometimes underlit. The soundtrack, fleshed out with an eclectic array of tunes, is lively.
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  6. Albert
    Nov 30, 2006
    4
    A beautiful place + a beautiful girl aren't enough to make a decent movie. Absolutely forgettable.
  7. Sidiot
    Nov 12, 2006
    0
    Dull and boring = prosaic.

See all 23 User Reviews

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