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Film / A Good Year

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A Good Year is a 2006 British-American comedy-drama film directed and produced by Ridley Scott. The film stars Russell Crowe, Marion Cotillard, Abbie Cornish, Tom Hollander, Freddie Highmore and Albert Finney. The film is loosely based on the 2004 novel of the same name by British author Peter Mayle.

Max Skinner is an unethical yet very successful London-based stockbroker. Following his Uncle Henry's death, Max is the sole beneficiary of his vineyard estate in Provence in south-eastern France. He travels there to prepare a quick sale and make a pretty penny. Shortly after arriving, however, he ends up getting involved in quite the amount of hijinks that make him reevaluate his lifestyle.

This film features examples of:

  • Big Fancy House: Max Skinner inherits a beautiful vineyard-estate in Provence from his uncle.
  • British Teeth: Lampshaded and inverted when Max observes that Christie must be American because of her perfect teeth.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The fact that Max is able to forge his uncle's signature is showed in a flashback. It becomes a relevant plot point in the end, when Max forges a letter to provide a false evidence that Christie is his uncle's daughter, which invalidates the sale of the estate.
  • Color Wash: London is colourless and grey, France is sunny and orange.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Downplayed, but still a rare example of the protagonist starting out as one from the get go; Max is shown as being an unethical and agressive stockbroker. However, after a talk with his company's chairman, Sir Nigel, Max reconsiders selling his uncle's estate, not wanting to be like Nigel, and gives up his old lifestyle in favor of a quieter life in France.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Once Fanny goes to show Max the butt injury he caused by hitting her bike, her flashing causes a few men to fall into a ditch.
  • Famous-Named Foreigner: "Fanny" for a woman from Southern France. Fanny is one of the main characters of the Marseilles Trilogy by Marcel Pagnol (made of 3 films: Marius, Fanny and César; the 1961 film named Fanny is an adaptation of the whole trilogy in a single film).
  • Fanservice: Provided by both Fanny and Christie, the latter even generating this exchange:
    Christie: I love your accent.
    Charlie: I love your bum.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: With all his bond-market manipulation, running people off the road while being too self-absorbed to even notice, and giving his subordinate running the store while he is away bad trading advice so that the guy gets fired, Max does manage to accomplish two good things in the film: he waits the tables in Fanny's restaurant when she is short-handed, and he provides a letter to Christie from her father proving that she is his daughter and that he wanted her to have the estate. But no, he in fact has selfish reasons behind both of these good turns: waiting tables allows him to get Fanny in bed (and he keeps the tips he earned), and he forged the letter to Christie so that he could invalidate his sale of the estate and retire there himself.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The prologue shows Max as a kid interacting with his uncle.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The tennis game, which gets the flair Ridley Scott usually deploys in his action scenes.
  • Rule of Pool: Max falls in an empty pool, from which he only gets out once Fanny turns on the water in retaliation for the hit-and-run. The delay causes him to lose his flight, forcing him to stay for a week in Provence.
  • Scenery Porn: Provence is beautiful!
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The song Moi... Lolita by Alizée is used in the trailer and in the movie when Max goes to the French countryside. The song has no themes in common with the movie... apart from France.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In the beginning, Max is a selfish jerkass, only interested in making money. Downplayed, because, in the end, he is still quite a jerkass, but a least he has learned that there are other interesting things in life apart from money.