The Vintner's Luck

Out Now On-Demand

Kiwi director Niki Caro (Whale Rider) follows up her well-received Hollwood debut, North Country, with this adaptation of Elizabeth Knox's novel about a peasant winemaker in Napoleon-era, 19th Century France. Stars the great Vera Farmiga (The Departed) and Keisha Castle-Hughes as a foxy salt-of-the-earth peasant girl.

Sobran Jodeau (Jérémie Renier) is an ambitious young peasant winemaker with three loves – his beautiful and passionate wife Celeste (Keisha Castle-Hughes), the proudly intellectual baroness Aurora de Valday (Vera Farmiga) and Xas (Gaspard Ulliel), a fallen angel who strikes up an unlikely but enduring friendship. Under the angel's guidance, Sobran is forced to fathom the nature of love, belief and immortality – in pursuit of the perfect vintage.

Trailers

Awards

Best Production Design and Costume Design at the NZ Film Awards 2010.

Directed by

Written by

Drama, Fantasy, Romance

127mins

Rating: M contains sex scenes

New Zealand, France

Official Site

If it wasn’t for the white-winged, waxed-chested angel, The Vintner’s Luck might not have endured such a hellish reception following its debut at the Toronto Film Festival. Kiwi director Niki Caro took a massive risk adapting Elizabeth Knox’s complex, erotic novel, particularly when she decided to shift the focus from theology and the relationship with the angel to Sobran’s wine-making skills.

Then again, the angel who befriends the protagonist in this ambitious epic of passion, toil and mortality is not the only distraction in this otherwise impressive-looking feature. Although the script mostly avoids sentimentality, so much of Sobran’s life is packed into the 127 minutes it’s difficult to get a sense of time passing, just as it’s hard to know if Caro meant for the gaps in narrative to be filled by intelligent guess work. Each time the angel arrives for his yearly visit, the context and setting are lost. That’s a shame because everything else – the cinematography, scenery and tone, is a work of beauty.

Although Keisha Castle-Hughes as the vintner’s wife seems a little young to be spawning so many little angels of her own, French actor Jeremie Renier gives a hearty performance as Sobran and Vera Farmiga as the vulnerable yet strong-willed Baroness balances elegance with vulnerability. If you’ve been craving a heartfelt cinematic explanation of the wine-making process, you’ll find it in the grape-squelching, dirt-eating, bug-crawling earthiness of The Vintner’s Luck. Just ignore that heavenly creature.

Christchurch Press (Graeme Tuckett)

press

The Vintner's Luck is good to look at, and a few scenes hint at the film I think the book, and we, deserved. But the rest is a baffling

Hollywood Reporter

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Very silly and incoherent melodrama gets tangled up in the wings of an angel.

NZ Herald (Peter Calder)

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The dreary, rambling narrative, the trite theme, the unconscionably long running time combine to make a major disappointment.

TV3 (Kate Rodger)

press

It was an ambitious project to adapt this tale, and while it’s in no way a failure, it’s certainly not a triumph.

Variety (USA)

press

New Zealand writer-director Niki Caro delivers her least impressive vintage with this drearily literal-minded adaptation of "The Vintner's Luck," Elizabeth Knox's novel about a 19th-century French peasant who receives celestial guidance in matters of love and winemaking. It's one of those ambitious grand-summation works -- rooted in the bittersweet truism that life, like wine, grows richer with age -- but not even Caro's earthy, sensuous filmmaking can overcome the tale's glib supernatural conceit, overstated moral lessons and overall dramatic torpor.

Rod

As bad as! The story does not make any sense! There is nothing to say about the actor's performance were OK, but lacking of emotion with no intense interpretation. The sexualised relationship with the angel was just to crown the rubish. The director perhaps tried to make a combo between City of Angels, Brokeback Montain and Made in Heaven, The best performance is no doubt from the vines and winemakers!


Can't wait... have heard so many great things!

Found awesome stuff about the movie!!!! YAY! Can't wait to see it... So psyched!

Author: TragedyAmber

..."The casting is almost perfect. Jeremy Renier, Gaspard Ulliel and Vera Farmiga are dead-on as far as appearance and mannerisms, and all do a wonderful job with the parts they play."....

...Author: Adam001

...."I was thrilled to hear Niki Caro was going to make this movie, no one else would have been able to portray the 'basic' elements of the novel better than she could and very well did. From start to finish the movie consisted of a real feeling of love and life. More so that she exactly put just that into making this film. The importance of simple things which when given love, sweat and time grow into something special, which if you haven't read the novel is the basic idea.

There is a heavy pagan love of the earth atmosphere in the movie ensuring an uplifting feeling. Leading me onto the visuals which where spot on, the sweeping French vineyards and valleys where just as I imagined them.

The casting was perfect, Sobran who is played by Jeremie Renier provided us with a inspiring and moving look at the trials and tribulations experienced by a 19th century wine maker. "....

Author: Clayboy44

..."I saw The Vintner's Luck a few days ago at TIFF 2009 I have not been familiar with Niki Caro's work, had not read the book and really did not know what to expect.I came out of that film exhilarated. For me this was a passionate look at life, love, labour with a glimpse of spirituality. I thought the cast was exceptional in a film with beautiful photography and pace. The introduction of the angel was completely believable and added such a wonderful mystical element to this lyrical, romantic film.- Fallen but not evil. Ulliel was really perfect casting!"...

Worst film of the year

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Worst film of the year

absolute rubbish

My good this was

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My good this was

painful. The acting was terrible, story was slow, and it seemed to just go on and on. Hughes and Caro are quite possibly the worst to come out of New Zealand since David Bain and John Hawkebury. Honestly do not see this film it is complete crap, god its so boring! And the fact Hughes is pumping out kids and is married is a little bit silly as she appears far too young.

And while in real life she may have a child, there is a name for that. If I could give no stars I would.


box wine

I haven't read the book, but from seeing this film I would say its dying for a gay relationship to make sense of much of the drama, or lack of it. It feels curiously empty of tasty ideas, trying hard to be profound and ending up watery. The physical encumbrance and pantomime feel of the angel wings are a major mistake, and a completely implausible first meeting taints the angel/Sobran relationship for the rest of the film. And the camera work is irritating and distracting. And I was bored. But I did like the overall look and feel, its earthy sensuousness, and the exploration of wine making, so a pity its flawed.

Horrible storytelling, did no justice to the book.

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Horrible storytelling, did no justice to the book.

It's like the title was slapped onto an entirely different story.

A Good Performance all round

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A Good Performance all round

A perfect balance of mystique, incredible scenery, fairy tale and a dash of authentic realism of how life may have been.

This film requires concentration on all levels by the viewer.

Bravo Keisha Bravo Niki

corked

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corked

laughable. flat. cringe. pointless. vacuous. trite.

A Remarkable Failure

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A Remarkable Failure

This adaptation of a great New Zealand novel is the cinematic equivalent to a terminal illness; depressing, excruciating, perverse.

Niki Caro finally proves conclusively she has little skill as a filmmaker. Beautiful as it may be, gorgeous imagery can't mask such stolid characterization and story arch. There is really nothing compelling here. What a waste.

A DELIGHTFUL & SENSUALTALE

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A DELIGHTFUL & SENSUALTALE

We ignored the critics - and often do and took off during the day to see this film yesterday. Whilst there are some scenes that we could see what some of the critics were saying, for the majority of the film we were completely swept away. One piece of advice is let this film wash over you with a good glass of red, it is stunning on screen and the international cast are a delight. The film is incredibly sensual and you will not be dissapointed