Sideways - Movie Review

Redemption through wine, words and love. What a great film.

Two ex-college roommates meet after years to go on a wine tasting trip through California. Miles is a serious wine aficionado. His friend Jack is a struggling actor about to be married to a rich and beautiful girl and who just wants to get his rocks off before his big day.
The first half of the film is a rich tribute to wine. At first we’re presented with the technical details, what to look for, how to smell it, how to drink it, and then
Maya asks Miles why he’s so into Pinot. The conversation that follows seemed like I wrote it. Miles sys he likes Pinot because it’s a hard grape to grow which needs constant love and affection and only the best vintners can make it. Maya says she loves wine because of what it makes her think about. The stories of the people behind the wine, and if it’s an old one….
Such soul! The Spanish word for hobby is ’aficion’, but ‘hobby’ is such a poor translation for a word that implies such a depth of passion, and while this film might be about wine and wine 'hobbyists’, it is really a take on art of any sort. Some reviewers have complained about the 'specialist audience’ viewpoint of this film, but anyone who has studied anything in great detail, detail enough to see the wonder of things, will relate without much trouble. Maya says that wine is like a living, breathing thing, always different, ephemeral. Like music.
Woven into this is the stories of the two guys and their women. Miles is a cerebral man still in love with his ex-wife. Jack wants to bone the sexy Stephanie before he gets married and has no trouble lying about his situation. The movie never stoops to moralising about their personal philosophies though, and it ends happily for all concerned.
Technically too, this movie was superb. It’s been made with such love and affection. The actors have all (well, almost) done superb jobs, with Paul Giamatti and Virginia Madsen (so beautiful) being the pick of the lot. The music by Rolfe Kent (with some help from Tarrega) was to die for!

Watch this film.