Holding Peter Mayle’s novel in your hands is a wonderful beginning. The size, the cover, the weight of the paper and typeface, ah! Max Skinner, a London financier, inherits a vineyard in Provence. If only, right? Anyone on your list that loves wine will slip easily into this setting and enjoy the good writing and story. Then there is the movie. I’m sure you agree that the book is usually better than the movie. Here is an exception.
I know I said yesterday that 84 Charing Cross Road is my favorite movie, and though true, A Good Year is absolutely my favorite. Russell Crowe is beyond charming in this smart, fun, sexy, nostalgic adaptation based on Mayle’s fine story. With a great supporting cast, Albert Finney has never been better, the young actor, Freddie Highmore, delightful. The story is tweaked, but in this case does not diminish the novel, but gives it a great heart. I suggest you team these gifts. Be sure to include yourself. When you watch the movie, I know you will be saying, “Thank you, Stepheny. This is divine.”
A few words about the movie. You’ll have to read the book to enjoy the differences. After years of no contact with his Uncle Henry, London banker and bond trader Max Skinner learns that Henry has died intestate, so Max inherits a château and vineyard in Provence. Max spent part of his childhood there. Max goes to France intent on selling the property. He spends a few days there, getting the property ready to show. Memories, a beautiful woman, and a young American who says she’s Henry’s illegitimate daughter interrupt his plans.