Heavenly Vintage, A (DVD Review)15 Apr, 2012 By: Angelique Flores
Stars Jeremie Renier, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Vera Farmiga, Gaspard Ulliel.
A Heavenly Vintage is like A Walk in the Clouds meets Bottle Shock meets Doc Faustus, set in early 1800s France.
The story centers on Sobran, a peasant who grows grapes sold to a chateau for wine. With his father’s winemaking knowledge passed down to him as well as his own experience, he often disagrees with Marquis Comte, who owns the chateau that makes the mediocre wine.
Things start looking up for Sobran when he marries Celeste (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and meets an angel (Gaspard Ulliel) one night. The angel offers him a deal: Meet him there one night a year for the rest of his life, and he will help him make wine. With an angel on his side, Sobran sees a bright future ahead.
Over the years, Sobran has three children, and the angel keeps his promise in helping Sobran grow a successful vineyard. Soon Sobran goes into business with Baroness Aurora (Vera Farmiga), Comte’s niece, upon the wishes of Comte after his death.
There are some unexpected and unclear overtones of a romantic relationship between Sobran and the angel toward the end of the film. The film is based on the 1998 award-winning novel The Vintner’s Luck by New Zealand author Elizabeth Knox. It’s safe to guess that a few rushed story elements are better fleshed out in the book.
Still, the film is rich and unique in story and texture, with an engaging lack of foreshadowing. It feels like a BBC miniseries, which probably would have been a better way to tell the full story of Sobran’s interesting life.