What You Need To Know:
A GOOD YEAR is an appealing, lighthearted movie with an appealing cast. It will make viewers excited about visiting the French countryside. A subplot about boutique French wines is confusing, however. Although A GOOD YEAR has some positive moral elements where Max learns to be a better person, the dominant worldview is Romantic. Thus, Max realizes that he should follow his heart, not his pocketbook. The movie also includes some immoral elements, including a bedroom scene that cuts away before things get too racy.
(RoRo, B, LLL, V, S, NN, AA, D, M) Strong romantic worldview about following your heart and foregoing greedy materialism, but mixed with some moral elements about doing the right thing, including the aforementioned idea about foregoing a greedy form of materialism, especially if you have to cheat to win; 33 obscenities (including one or two muffled "f" words), two strong profanities, two light profanities, and obscene gesture in two or three scenes; light comic violence, such as man falls into dirty emptied swimming pool, man tries to climb and jump out of dirty pool, woman falls off bicycle when car almost runs her over, and tennis players accidentally run into fences and walls; passionate kissing as couple tears off clothes, implied fornication, talk about deceased man being a lothario and being with other women, and man stares briefly at young woman's naked rear end as he helps her with a terrible sunburn; brief rear female nudity when man helps young woman with intense sunburn, some female cleavage and upper male nudity; alcohol use, uncle gives nephew watered down wine and man gets a little drunk at a dinner; smoking; and, cheating rebuked, forgery used to solve the plot problem, lying, and apparent bribery.
A GOOD YEAR is a breezy, enchanting romantic comedy, but it is not as morally uplifting as it could have been.
The movie stars Russell Crowe, who plays Max Skinner, a high-powered, competitive stockbroker in London who’s not above cheating in order to help his firm and himself. The story opens with Max as a young orphaned boy at his Uncle Henry’s chateau and vineyard in France. Max and his uncle are playing chess, but Max cheats in order to win. Henry tells Max a story about how a glass of wine always tells the truth about its quality, implying that it’s better to tell the truth, but little Max refuses to come clean about his cheating.
Cut to the present where Max and his team of “lab rats” (as he calls the stockbrokers under him) use shady means to manipulate the price of some bonds. That same day, he learns that news of his uncle’s death has been delayed a month. His uncle left no will, so Max and his lawyer, Charles, believe they can make a killing selling the chateau and vineyard.
Duflot, the manager of the vineyard, is not happy about Max wanting to sell the place. A comical run-in with Fanny, a pretty café owner in the village, delays Max from getting back to London. He decides to spend a few more days in the French countryside working to fix up the chateau.
Max pursues Fanny and savors fond memories of the summers spent with his Uncle Henry. A wrinkle is put into his plans to sell the chateau when Henry’s illegitimate daughter from America, Christie, appears wanting to know more about her long-lost father.
A GOOD YEAR is an appealing, lighthearted movie with an appealing cast led by Australian Russell Crowe as Max. It will make viewers excited about visiting the French countryside. A subplot about boutique French wines is confusing, however.
Although the movie has some positive moral elements where Max learns to be a better person, the dominant worldview is Romantic. Thus, in the story, Max also learns how to follow his dreams, which include settling down with Fanny. Also, as he decides that Fanny is the one he loves, Max and Fanny have a bedroom scene that cuts away to the next morning. Thus, while the movie extols virtues like telling the truth and denigrates cheating to win, the worldview context is a Romantic one where premarital sex is okay. In the end, Max realizes that he should follow his heart, not his pocketbook, and his heart belongs in France with Fanny.
In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus Christ says that premarital sex is wrong and requires repentance. Thus, Jesus extols chastity and marriage. A GOOD YEAR could have done without the implied sex scene between Max and Fanny. In that light, this movie belongs to the Elizabethan and Shakespearean genre known as pastoral romance. In this genre, the lovers always get married at the end. That may not be “as you like it,” or as today’s filmmakers like it, but it is how God likes it.