Our film club was not only designed to bring together the team here at London Book and Screen Week through our shared love of book-to-film adaptations but also connect us with our wider online community. This week we watched A Good Year. So, without further ado, it’s time to sit back, enjoy the review and get wholly excited for summertime.
A Good Year
Set in picturesque South of France, this light-hearted and feel-good film is full of charm. Max Skinner, a stock trader and workaholic, inherits his Uncle’s French château and vineyard in Provence. With reluctance, he leaves his work and returns to the place where he spent many happy childhood memories. Based loosely on Peter Mayle’s book A Good Year, this is a relaxing summer film that insights visceral jealousy of French cuisine and the beautiful sun-dappled scenery.
Determined to sell the property and return to work quickly, he hurriedly attempts to take photos of the château, in his haste he falls into an empty swimming pool and misses his flight home. After eventually escaping the confines of the pool, he discovers he has been suspended from work after his latest city financial stunt. This leaves him to linger on at the château as he tries to restore the dilapidated building and the grounds around it. Allowing him to rediscover the simple pleasures of life, without the intensity of his usual work environment. Despite this, his irritable and sometimes indifferent persona takes a while to be softened by the beauty that surrounds him.
Max continuously upsets and infuriates his uncle’s winemaker and his lovely though slightly over animated wife, as well as the local bistro owner, with whom he slowly forms a romantic attachment. Despite their shaky introduction to one another, and her clear hostility towards him, she slowly warms to his cheeky charm offensive. Max’s irritable nature also extends to his cousin, Christie Roberts, when she shows up unannounced, looking for his Uncle Henry, claiming to be his illegitimate daughter. This means a possible loss of inheritance for Max; creating light intrigue throughout the film.
For us at London Book and Screen Week, the most striking parts of the film were the visuals, the scenery just glows with soft sunlight on screen. Intertwined with flashbacks of Max’s fond childhood memories of the château and his uncle giving him wise advice, you can almost feel the warmth of summer. Though the predictability of the film could not be questioned (we all knew that it would all work out in the end!) A Good Year remained a charming film with a relaxing and fun-filled atmosphere, from the music to the cast, which will put anyone in the mood for summer!