Sunday, 10 July 2011

A GOOD YEAR - Peter Mayle, 2004

A Good Year (Ridley Scott, 2006) is one of my favourite feel-good films. I usually find the movie is a poor relation of the book it is based on, so I was expecting a real treat. What a disappointment! Mayle’s novel is bland in comparison to the film version. In the film, Max Skinner undertakes a personal journey and, in doing so, undergoes a fundamental change. In the novel he is already a pretty nice guy but things haven’t always gone his way. The film also includes the Uncle; his eccentric wisdom is forgotten by Max and then plays an important part in his rehabilitation. I like Peter Mayle’s writing and his evocation of Provence, particularly in Bon Apetit, his foodie journey around France, but A Good Year is a flimsy tale. It makes more of a conspiracy of the origins of Coin Perdu, the expensive garage wine, than the film does but lacks the character development which makes the film so effective.

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