Evelyn GoughIn the Picture

A Good Year

Directed by Ridley Scott

Rated M

Russell Crowe teams up with his buddy, director Ridley Scott, in the feel-good romantic comedy A Good Year based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Peter Mayle.

After lopping off heads in their previous collaboration Gladiator, the only thing Russell gets to cut off in this are bunches of grapes when his character, Max Skinner, a London-based investment expert, inherits a chateau and small vineyard in Provence from his late uncle Henry (Albert Finney).

As a young boy, Max (played by Finding Neverlands Freddie Highmore) spent many a happy summer vacationing with his eccentric uncle at the chateau in the south of France. But life in the fast lane in London, in the cut-throat investment industry, has seen Max become heartless and cold.

Max hasnt seen or heard from his uncle in years but when Henry dies he leaves La Siroque to his closest blood relative, who just happens to be Max.

Returning to Provence, Max is flooded with memories. Not good ones. Great ones!

This is the place where he was at his happiest and suddenly London and work feel a very long way away. But is he the rightful beneficiary? What about the beautiful American (played by Aussie Abbie Cornish) who claims to be Henrys illegitimate daughter? Under French law that would make her the owner.

And just who is the mysterious French beauty (Marion Cotillard) who has taken an instant dislike to Max?

Having boasted that he is the greatest actor in the world, capable of making any shit sound good, playing an arsehole was no great stretch for our modest Oscar winner. (Just dont tell him to his face or youre likely to get a phone thrown at your head!)

And if you ask me he carries it off, Brit accent and all. A Good Year may be getting bagged by the press but dont let that put you off. For lightweight, fun entertainment this hits the spot. Its scrumptious to look, despite myself I do think Russell is quite yummy and the guy can act. Ridley Scott just happens to be one of my favourite directors and although this is a change of pace for him (hes best known for his full-on action films) he proves with A Good Year that he is quite capable of turning out a decent chick-flick.

If youre contemplating a sea-change this is a must-see! Youll be packing the bags in no time.

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