A Good Year is a Great Movie

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

I loved this movie, because it’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.

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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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4 Responses to “A Good Year is a Great Movie”

  1. Catie says:

    Jo! Your timing is perfect, as I not only love the movie, but currently reading Peter Mayle’s book. When I first watched the movie, I assumed I wouldn’t like it as it would be a cutesy Hallmark-style movie – not so. I have now watched it several times. Beautiful settings, and the choice of actors were perfect. I also recommend the book. Thank you for sharing this movie.

  2. Jo Diaz says:


    I plan on bringing the book with us (Jose and me) to Provence and read it on the plane. I haven’t had time to read it, but I know I will love it. The movie is exceptional. My favorite character is Uncle Henry. I had an Uncle Henry, too; but it was his brother Peter (my grandfather) who had had the greatest influence in my life, until I met Jose. Now, they share that distinction. Thanks for weighing in.

  3. “A Good Year” was one of my all time favorites. The character development is amazing, and the rural setting feels like the best place in the world to live. I would definitely recommend this movie to everyone. Excellent review as well.

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Jon. I love it so much that I have to get myself there.

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