A Good Year ~ A Great Movie

IMAGE: LuxInteriorDesigns.com Website.

LOCATION: Uncle Henry’s Chateau La Siroque is actually Chateau La Canorgue, which is set in the Provence region, Luberon, France.

This the first time I’ve ever written about a movie I’ve seen.

Because it’s a movie that’s written about our wine lifestyle, A Good Year (written by Peter Mayle and directed by Ridley Scott) has really struck me. It’s worth sharing, in case you’ve not seen it yet.

Maybe because it was set in Europe (London and Provence), and pulled on my European British and French DNA, that it’s swept me away. I cannot tell you why I’ve been just watching it over and over again, but I’m presently hung up on it. I love the bustle of London, I love the lessons in the vines.

IMAGE: © 20th Century Fox

I adore the lessons taught by Uncle Henry to master Max; a precocious child who tries to out-fox the fox, but that’s impossible. Lessons in humanity are taught through interactive sports between the Uncle and Max, very important ones that every young man should learn from an involved senior; the critical ones that can – and mostly do – cause paradigm shifts at some turning point in life.

Displacing a magical childhood, Maximilian is brought back to Uncle Henry’s old chateau. Losing his Uncle in this life, he finds him again in his heart. He also returns to the family that lovingly shared in the caring for Max through Uncle Henry’s vines… The vigneron and his French country wife.

I’ve seen so many people in wine country that could have played the part of vigneron in real life. The vineyards I’ve been in… mountains sides, valley floors, knolls in a hillside, caves filled with glorious wine… I’ve walked that every day for the last 19 years, and this movie just speaks to all of it.

I can only imagine having been there to see shadows cast on the chateau’s walls in last afternoon, because I’ve been there so many times. It was all just so familiar and even comforting.

Seeing guys who think they know a lot about wine, but they just know the right things to say… sorta… I love the comedic side of that. Knowing the underside of stones in a vineyard, understanding each jewel, laughing at M. Duflot, as he subtly underscores the importance of his rocky vineyard, like my grandfather used to guard his fishing hole and blueberry patch.

IMAGE: LuxInteriorDesigns.com Website.

And the love affair that was set into motion before these two characters even came into life… Their DNA united and reunited them.

If you haven’t yet seen this movie, you can join me in just discovering it.  I was under a rock for a while about it, because it came out in 2006. My daughter Melanie did tell me about it, but even that escaped me.

It’s not a blockbuster. It hasn’t made a billion dollars yet. It doesn’t have enough violence, lewd sex, and all that Hollywood razzle dazzle, thankfully. It’s just a delightful movie that’s got lots of heart and soul, set in wine county… My cup of tea these days.

A few characters:

  • Albert Finney as Uncle Henry
  • Freddie Highmore as Young Max Skinner
  • Russell Crowe as Max Skinner
  • Marion Cotillard as Fanny Chenal
  • Abbie Cornish as Christie Roberts
  • Didier Bourdon as Francis Duflot
  • Isabelle Candelier as Ludivine Duflot

This link is soundtrack music that will transports you into the movie, which I listened to while writing this.

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20 Responses to “A Good Year ~ A Great Movie”

  1. Jo,

    I watched it again. I did learn more about the movie the second time I watched it. The movie taught many lessons. You are right that older people in your life can impart many important life lessons, that can help you grow and shape who you become. But in this movie, it helped Max realize what was really important in life. Max realized that his quality of his life was worth more than any of the riches he thought to be so important. He did not believe in love, but realized life is not full until you realize the love of family and in his case the love of a woman makes a man complete. Not just a woman, but someone who was destined to be with him from the very beginning. The love of wine and the wine lifestyle along with the beauty of France really swept me away… Thanks for reminding me to watch it again.

  2. […] more: Wine Blog » Blog Archive » A Good Year ~ A Great Movie Category(s): Bez kategorii Tag(s): chateau, ever-written, first, france, image, luberon, […]

  3. Jo Diaz says:

    I haven’t bought a movie to enjoy when I want it, but his one will be breaking my routine in that regard, Lorrie.

  4. Sondra says:

    Hi Jo,
    I loved this movie, too, when I saw it. I may have even written something, will look for it. It was definitely a feel good movie with wine/life as the teacher of what’s important. I’m going to look to see it again. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Sondra says:

    Found it – I had written a blog about the film right after I saw it. I, too, never write about movies but this one was special. Pasting here to add to your wonderful description and inspiration to see it again.

    Wednesday, February 28. 2007
    An Honest Wine
    These words spoken in the film A Good Year set the tone for the entire movie.
    Wine is as much a character in this film as Russell Crowe. Yet what is most telling is the comment – wine is honest, it doesn’t tell a lie. It is what it is. Have you met any dishonest wines?

    Based on Peter Mayle’s’wonderful book of the same name, Ridley Scott did a beautiful production filmed about 10 minutes from his house in Provence. If you can’t afford the air fare travel there via the DVD.

    I love seeing wine and vineyards in film. Besides Sideways which made pinot noir the star and dampened merlot’s popularity, most films simply use wine for toasting the noble gesture. When wines and vines are the star, that’s entertainment , promotion, and something to share.

    Visit the film’s official website with its virtual vineyard and you can make your own wine…. A lot of fun to watch the vines grow and for those just discovering the passion of the vine you can learn about winemaking in a delightful fashion, . —-

    I’m still waiting for a new TV series to replace Falcon Crest. I’ve got some ideas if any film producers are interested.

    Do you have a favorite wine film?

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    Love your comments and review, Sondra.

    The part about wine is so true… it being as much a character as the players. I hadn’t thought of that one, yet… So many layers to explore. I’ve been thinking I need to read the book. Now, I know I do. I can only imagine what wasn’t able to be jammed into production.

  7. Mark Cocahrd says:

    I read the book first, Peter Mayle and Ridley Scott are neighbors in Luberon. Ridley Scott asked Peter to write a book about wine and this is the result.
    We traveled to Provence in 2007 to tour the South of France and actually visited Chateau la Canorgue in Bonnieux just over the Montagne de Luberon from where were staying in Lourmarin. The setting is just as magical in person as it is in the movie. It was interesting that the Chateau barely acknowledges the film was made there except for a made for tourist version of the special wine made from grapes on the other side of the clos.

  8. Donald says:

    If you like wine movies, check out Corked. It’s a mockumentary and way more cynical about wine than A Good Year, but it holds it’s own in a low-budget sort of way. I saw it on Netflix streaming.

  9. Jo Diaz says:


    I’d also love to visit Chateau la Canorgue in Bonnieux… I know I’d be really taken with it. Americans are great with marketing and telling their stories. the people at the chateaux may think that they’d be viewed as self indulgent. Of course, we’d not see it that way. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to witness it, id it fall?

  10. Jo Diaz says:

    Another one I need to watch… Thanks, Donald, for the suggestion.

  11. Marty Johnson says:

    Have always loved this movie as a feel good drama. It’s at the front of the shelf and I shared it with my wife last year. We fell in love again… This and MondoVino (as a documentary) are my two favorite wine movies EVER!!! Thanks for the reminder Jo. ❤

  12. Jo Diaz says:

    Marty… There seems to be a fan club 🙂

  13. Great wine movie!!!! Sideways and bottle shock as well.

    Back wooden bottle wine company http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1094085511/wooden-bottle-wine-company

  14. There’s nothing like warm weather and spectacular scenery along with a good wine and a good movie, never better.

  15. Oughut says:

    I too have been seduced by this film and I’m not a lover of cinema generally. Have watched it over and over, could not bear Russell Crowe before this film either. Visually it is beautiful and the storyline simply charming.

  16. Jo Diaz says:

    It’s interesting that it’s had this impact on more people than not, Oughut.

  17. […] for my comfort film A Good Year, I fell upon Night Train to Lisbon. It’s a film based on the novel of the same name. Written […]

  18. Paul says:

    Isn’t anyone curious about the ‘initialed mystery wine? I certainly am. I assume the vines were procured from a famous vineyard – more likely towards Beaune. I say this only because of it’s Burgundy Type Bottle. The vines could have come from Bordeaux, but I think unlikely.

    Does anyone have a clue, or answer to this part of the movie?


    P.S. Oh yes – this movie was a great reflection of life and well presented. The characters were all grey and that sorted itself throughout the movie. The cast was perfect, but I wish his cousin had the chance to invest more ‘about wine’ in the movie.

  19. Jo Diaz says:

    Paul, the Burgundy bottle also is a Rhone-style bottle. (A lot of Petite Sirah, for instance is in a Burgundy bottle, while others favor the Bordeaux.) Also, the mystery wine comes from a vineyard that is filled with stones. The vigneron talks about that the uncle’s money was in those vines… The Rhone is northwest of Provence, and much much closer to Burgundy or Bordeaux.

  20. John says:

    I agree with this review. Thanks for writing it. (I too have watched it often.)

    And thanks for referencing the soundtrack. I so agree there too.


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