From the Vine – Film Review

Drama/comedy
English with some subtitled Italian language
Rated M, 94 minutes
Now showing at Palace Electric, Canberra

Lawyer and automotive company executive Mark Gentile takes a stand against a corporate policy he finds unethical. He resigns his job and ecides to travel to his childhood home, the tiny village of Acerenza in Southern Italy, to visit the vineyard where he grew up, finding it in a state of disrepair.

Mark decides to bring the dilapidated property back to life and to start producing wine again, bringing on board several of the locals to help.  Concerned about his sudden and lengthy trip, Mark’s his wife Marina, and his twenty-something directionless daughter, Laura come out to join him. 

As the magic of Italy starts to touch Mark and his womenfolk, he also starts to mend his family relationships. But you can’t entirely take the corporate out of the man…

From The Vine is based on the 2010 novel Finding Marco, by Ken Cancellara. The book was published in Canada and Italy, and received several awards.

For me, this film was pleasant enough as an entertainment, but a tad too predictable and rose-tinted. The story itself is not unique and Italy is the perfect setting for jaded American continentals to find something more relaxed and free-spirited in themselves. No matter the reality of trying to move into a small Italian community, even with grandparental connections!

The characters both Canadian and Italian were also a bit stereotypical for my liking. Performances were sympathetic though at times bordering on slapstick. The glorious Italian scenery is always a winner and has been exploited in numerous predecessors like My House in Umbria, Roman Holiday, A Room with a View, La Dolce Vita and Under the Tuscan Sun.

As that’s a given, we are entitled perhaps to demand more than that of a story-telling 21st century movie, and so this one probably falls short for me. At a time when escapism is in high demand, however, From the Vine may just fulfil some peoples’ dreams.

Thanks to Nedco and Rialto for the opportunity to preview the movie.