Sideways

I was pretty tired and I’d had a few drinks before going to see Sideways and so my view of the film may be influenced by the combination of fatigue and alcohol. But isn’t that what this film is all about: two middle aged blokes who drink too much and who are a little bit tired of life?

My friend Sue had been to see the film earlier this week and said she was a little disappointed. She said she couldn’t understand how these two men could have been friends. There was Miles, the balding middle aged man who knew a lot about wine appreciation (and perhaps with an alcohol problem) who was finding it difficult to get over his divorce (and in the film discovered that his ex wife had recently remarried). And there was Jack, about the get married, but looking for a few shags in the final week and, although he enjoyed drinking wine (getting drunk), lacked the appreciation of Miles. As to why they’d be friends? Miles explains they were university friends… university friends, in my view, who never really moved on. I thought their behaviour throughout the movie, and indeed their friendship, remained mostly undergraduate.

Although there were a few laughs, I thought this was a really sad movie. But not sad in a way that would make me cry… sad in a way that I felt a certain pity for the central characters. But although I felt sad for them… two men who’d never really grown up… I didn’t particularly like them or relate to them. I could imagine them as sleazy middle aged blokes trying to pick up young women in bars late at night.

At the end of the movie, however, there is room for optimism, as they both appear to come to a point where their lives move on. I wonder if they’d be friends after this… was this the end of their friendship?

After we left the movie, my friend Damien and I discussed various aspects of the film, including whether or not Miles was a depressed alcoholic. Although the film didn’t really go into this aspect of his life there were signs, such as when Miles stole money from his mother’s bedroom dresser and when Jack asked Miles if he’d been “drinking and dialing”, a reference to people who get drunk and then call up someone they love or think they love.

This movie was promoted several months ago as a movie about wine. And to an extent it is, with lots of very accurate “wine wankery” providing comic relief throughout the movie. The region they visited, however, didn’t really appeal to me as a wine drinker and tourist, lacking the visual appeal that you would have expected. You can wait to see it on the small screen, because it offers little on the big screen. A documentary film about Bordeaux that was one of the trailers shown at Verona last night had far more appeal.

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