From the Vine

Sometimes films work as travel advertisements for countries. It should come as no surprise that this is often the case when a film takes place in Italy. The country seems so picturesque that you cannot make it look like an undesirable place to be. Immediately upon finishing films set in Italy you are looking at flight prices. That feeling of adoration of the country naturally seeps into your feelings about the film. You find yourself being more forgiving about its flaws. Maybe just like Italy itself.

From the Vine is a Canada-Italy co-production though most of it takes place in Italy. A beautiful wine growing section of Italy. It involves a man going through a midlife crisis or a crisis of identity. He changes his life from a certainty to one of uncertainty much to his family’s surprise and chagrin.

After his boss and mentor dies, Marco Gentile (Joe Pantoliano – Memento, Bad Boys) is left to run the automobile manufactoring company. When the icy Barbara Cavendish (Sonia Dhillon Tully – appeared in episodes of Suits and Transplant) casts some doubt on his leadership Marco won’t buckle so makes the rash decision of leaving the company.

Seeing this as an opportunity, Marco tells his wife Marina (Wendy Crewson – Room, Air Force One) that he wants them to pick up and go to his childhood village in Italy. Needless to say, Marina is shocked and cannot just pick up her life to go to Italy. Marco goes anyway.

He returns to his very small boyhood village of Acerenza to the people he once knew who have now grown up. To stay in his grandfather’s house. Once there he comes up with a crazy idea and so he cashes in his retirement savings to put his plan in motion. Red flags are going up for his wife and daughter Laura (Paula Brancati – from television’s Working Moms), so they hop on a plane to bring Marco back home. That is going to be a case of easier said than done.

Good to see a film with a man in a midlife crisis which does not involve having affairs with young women or buying red sports cars. Sean Cisterna’s (Full Out, Kiss and Cry) film is more about carrying on of family tradition and discovering, no matter what age, what you are passionate about.

It is the type of film only the biggest of Grinches would find something wrong with. Is it perfect, no. But is it enjoyable, yes. Pantoliano is just so likable. Crewson plays the exasperated but supportive wife perfectly. The Italian cast members are both hilarious and charming.

Yeah, it is a film with a message. A message of finding life instead of job and money. Celebrating family roots and traditions. Rather than fighting against them. That patience has its own payoff.

A film that feels rather old fashioned in I wish they made more of these films kind of way rather than being outdated.

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