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In Search Of Wine. In Search Of Women. In Search Of Themselves 

Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Sideways

Alexander Payne’s Oscar winning Sideways, stars Paul Giamatti as Miles Raymond, an unpublished writer, who with his best friend, the soon-to-be-married Jack (Church) sets off on a weeklong trip through California’s wine country. Miles plans to give his friend the best possible send-off before married life, whilst all Jack wants to do is get laid.

Along the way, the mismatched pair start sampling the local delights, as depressed wine-buff Miles distracts himself from the impending failure of his latest manuscript and tries to educate Jack on the finer points of the different blends. Jack too is looking for diversions from the pressures back home, ignoring his responsibilities not to mention his waning looks. However, everything changes when the guys hook up with wine enthusiast Maya (Madsen) and free-spirited Stephanie (Oh). While Jack and Stephanie get straight down to business, Miles and Maya’s blossoming romance is much more tentative, providing some real moments of tenderness and warmth to go with the tragedy.

The humour switches from the mainstream to the quirky with some truly laugh-out-loud moments providing a perfect counterbalance to the more thought provoking scenes. The direction is superb, skilfully capturing the nuances of the Oscar winning script and its characters but it is the acting that is perhaps the most impressive. Giamatti, Church and Madsen put on career-best performances in their roles with the ensemble justly rewarded with a multitude of award nominations.

In short, this is not a big all action blockbuster but a small masterpiece about real people with very human failings. It is funny and smart but most of all, it is a picture I just wanted to keep on watching.

James Kopka

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Summer Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Summer Term (35mm)