Sideways is a comedy, drama, and romance film released in 2004 and directed by Alexander Payne. A middle-aged divorced man takes his soon-to-be-married best friend on a trip to California’s Wine Country.
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Miles (played by Paul Giamatti) is a middle-aged school teacher with a frustrated writing career. He’s divorced for two years but still hoping to resume the marriage. His best friend, Jack (played by Thomas Haden Church), is a middle-aged actor past his prime who’s soon to get married.
Together they go on a trip to California’s wine country in somewhat of a bachelor party. During the tour, they meet Stephanie (played by Sandra Oh), making Jack rethink his wedding, and Maya (played by Virginia Madsen), giving Miles some hope outside his failed marriage.
You can watch this film on these platforms, according to Rotten Tomatoes. However, I think it might vary from country to country.
Sideways is a movie I kinda watched a long time ago. I was doing things on the computer, either playing something or doing some homework, TV was on by my side, just as background noise when this film began.
I remember I liked it, as far as I was paying attention, but I had to rewatch this week before doing the review because I couldn’t actually remember anything about it. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention at all, that time I watched.
Rewatching it was like I was actually watching it for the first time. I liked it now even more, and instead of having a vague idea that it was nice, now I can say it’s a really admirable film.
Sideways has a compelling and fun plot. It has many humorous moments that made me laugh a lot. It was not my favorite type of humor, but it was good enough for me to relax.
There was the comedic tone I just mentioned, but in other moments it was more severe. The film deals with relatively serious themes around maturity and relationships without being melodramatic or somber. It’s very well balanced in this sense.
However, I felt the movie slightly dragged a little. It has a little more than 2 hours of duration, but I think some minutes could be cut without interfering with the final result.
For example, there a scene in which Miles and Jack have to get a wallet one of them left behind. It’s an absolutely unnecessary scene that could easily be cut without affecting the result. It’s funny, but not enough to be in the film unjustifiably.
The four main characters are a bright spot in the movie. They have very distinctive traits to one another, making their involvement more compelling. We, as the audience, are always cheering for some outcomes in their relationships, romantic or friendship.
The captivating dynamic of the characters is exceptionally helped by the marvelous acting present in the movie. I really enjoyed Thomas Haden Church and Virginia Madsen, the last being a surprise since I don’t remember her in any other role.
However, the best one has to be Paul Giamatti. He is one of the best actors of his generation by far. I don’t think his performance in Sideways is the best of his career, but he’s still outstanding nevertheless. It’s a surprise for me that he only received one Oscar nomination to this day.
The cinematography is really subtle. It has some good-looking shots here and there, decent camera movement, framing, and everything else. I like the lighting, with some very bright shots on the outside and warm and directed light in the nightly indoors.
At the very beginning of the movie, there’s a nice and soft song, I think it was Bossa Nova. However, in the remainder of the film, the score was really underwhelming, one of the disappointing points of Sideways.
I won’t say Sideways deserves the Oscar it got. It’s a tough choice. We have to take into consideration at least Before Sunset. And there’s also The Motorcycle Diaries, that I didn’t watch yet, but that I have high hopes.
Sideways is a very decent movie. It’s original and funny, even though it dragged for some moments. It’s a watch I recommend even for those who, like myself, might think it’s not a film would get you interested in. I’ll give Sideways 8 Moons.
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