I really don't understand all the bad reviews from critics and reviewers alike for I personally loved this movie. Now, it's not the grandest spectacle to grace the big screen nor is it Russell Crowe's finest hour, but `A Good Year' is some quality entertainment and serves it purpose in the relaxed and happy season that is fall. Having just seen the poorly made and highly overrated `Catch a Fire' I was ready to relax and watch something entertaining and enjoyable, and being the Russell Crowe fan that I undoubtedly am I decided that `A Good Year' would be just that movie.
Max Skinner (Crowe) is a stuck up British stock broker who at one time was a kind hearted soul, and his fondest memories are littered with his Uncle Henry (Finney) and his Chateau in France. Upon his Uncles death Max is left the sole owner of Henry's estate, and in like fashion he flies out there in order to sell if for profit and make it back ASAP. What he doesn't bank on is Christie Roberts (Abbie Cornish) showing up claiming to be the long lost daughter of Henry and claiming rights to his estate. Throughout the course of the film Max has to go through the stages of redemption, which include discovering the jerk he has become and rediscovering his inner child.
The two key components to his wonderful film is the scenery and the acting. The script and storyline as some have already pointed out is very unoriginal, we've seen this done plenty of times, but the beauty that is France, as well as the beauty that is Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard (who plays Fanny, the seductive woman who steals Max's heart) more than make up for the familiarity. Crowe is, as many know, my all time favorite actor ever, and I feel that he can carry any film he touches. Whether you are a fan of his phone throwing escapades or not, you have to admit that the man is gifted, very gifted. Here he proves that by being just as compelling and engrossing laughing and smiling as he is riding into battle. Albert Finney and Marion Cotillard are also wonderful here, but to me it was little Freddie Highmore (such a talented young man) who outshined most in the cast (can anyone outshine Crowe...I don't believe so).
As I said in the beginning, I don't understand all the bad press. So what if it's no `A Beautiful Mind' or `Gladiator', so what if Russell was not Lucky Jack or James Braddock, `A Good Year' is still a good time and Max Skinner is just as fun as Crowe ever was. I recommend it, I enjoyed it, no better yet, I loved every minute of it.