Sideways is a 2004 comedy drama directed and co-written by Alexander Payne who co-wrote the script with Jim Taylor. It is based on the novel by Rex Pickett and released by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti) is a wine aficionado who is struggling with depression after his divorce and waiting for his novel to be published. He takes his friend and former child star Jack Cole (Thomas Haden Church) on a road trip to different wineries ahead of Cole’s wedding. They meet Maya Randall (Virginia Madsen), a recently divorced waitress who dreams of getting into the wine business. Miles and Jack meet her friend and single-mother Stephanie (Sandra Oh) with whom Jack starts an affair. As Miles struggles with watching his cheating friend, he grows closer to Maya and wonders where his own life is going.
The movie won Best Adapted Screenplay at the 77th Academy Awards in 2005, but it is criminal that it did not win the other three categories it was nominated for. It is subtle, funny, and was made before Hollywood became obsessed with identity politics.
It was a very real comedy that showed a person who has his struggles, trying to celebrate the good news of his friend’s upcoming wedding. You empathize with him as he is somewhat envious of his friend who seemingly has everything, but could potentially lose it all after several poor decisions. It tells it with patience and subtly, which only made the humor that much richer.
Paul Giamatti is brilliant. He is often type-cast as a corrupt person, but in this film, we can see his range. He delivers a performance that is applause-worthy and brings it all together. I honestly do not think anyone else could have taken the role of Miles with such gusto. He truly nailed it and brought it together.
I can honestly say the same about Virginia Madsen. She delivers such an amazing performance and truly shows her range as an actress. She was nominated as Best Supporting Actress and she honestly should have won. No one can deny her performance as Maya was nothing short of excellent and it is disappointing that she did not win.
Bottom line, Sideways is a hilarious film that has some incredible performances. It is so funny and brought on so many laughs.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong foul language, Sexual content including nudity, Substance abuse, Some violence
FAVORITE QUOTE: “How it’s a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it’s an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I’d opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your ’61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline.”
Watch the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reviews of Jojo Rabbit and Joker. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.
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This article has been updated from a previous version.
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