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Sideways (2004)



Average Rating: 8.7/10
Critic Reviews: 48
Fresh: 46 | Rotten: 2

An emotional and heartfelt comedy.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 194,926

My Rating

Movie Info

Directed by Alexander Payne, Sideways follows Miles (Paul Giamatti), who is distressed about his lack of success as a novelist, and Jack (Thomas Haden Church), an equally unsuccessful actor with a rapidly approaching wedding. In a last-ditch effort to sow their wild oats, Jack and Miles take off on a final road trip to California's wine country the week prior to Jack's wedding. Both men have goals for the vacation -- Miles wants to turn Jack on to the art of wine tasting, while Jack is concerned


Drama, Romance, Comedy

Jim Taylor, Alexander Payne

Apr 5, 2005


Fox Searchlight Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (223) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (215) | Rotten (8) | DVD (41)

Payne does know how to capture two kinds of male menopause. But I can't say he ever surprised me.

February 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sideways stays resolutely life-size. And that, in this age of hype and hyperventilation, may be the most radical thing about it.

November 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Intelligent, funny and moving.

May 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Payne has made a movie for the same sorts of people, one with body and 'nose' and character that movie lovers will savor long after the credits have rolled.

November 19, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This isn't the sort of road comedy we're used to seeing. Its humor is more likely to provoke smiles and light chuckles than guffaws.

November 12, 2004 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Much like Altman, Hal Ashby and Billy Wilder -- three filmmakers whose movies are celebrated for their naturalism, their humanism and their wicked, often merciless satire -- Payne makes films about ordinary people with their rumples and flaws left intact,

November 12, 2004 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Payne's most enjoyable movie since Election

May 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

Excellent but explicit movie is not for kids.

December 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comments (5)
Common Sense Media

"Sideways" is about wine aged to perfection sipped by men who've aged to mediocrity - softer, hornier versions of Walter and The Dude. But Miles's brutal honesty is its soul. He's annoyingly, depressingly out there, but never fraudulent.

October 1, 2010 Full Review Source:

Giamatti handily raises what could've been a pedestrian road trip romance into the stratosphere of a world-class character study

September 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

A very memorable slice of life.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

This wonderfully satisfying study in human nature is funny and sad and profoundly entertaining from start to finish.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Sideways is the first of Payne's films in which we have the chance to really care for the characters; he reins in his harsh satire better than before.

September 7, 2007
Looking Closer

No one does quivering-on-the-edge-of-depression quite like Paul Giamatti.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

This one's like to appeal greatly to the 30-40 somethings that are getting more and more into bourgeois sports such as yachting, polo or wine tasting.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

The year's second best movie about broken and lonely people (after Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

October 11, 2006
Christianity Today

In Payne's overarching triumph, Sideways is a sensitive, to the point of disturbing, expose of that can blossom with that high school hallway sweetness even in the withered garden of midlife.

September 27, 2006 Full Review Source:

click to read article [Greek]

September 10, 2006 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

Brilliantly observed characters are becoming second nature to Payne and Taylor, and the performances here are uniformly terrific. This is wonderful, original stuff.

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A study of friendship, disappointment and self-deception, Sideways, directed by Alexander Payne, has at its centre the most leisurely of bachelor parties: it's a road movie that stops off at vineyards.

January 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

...a leisurely paced film about introspection, neurosis and finding tranquility.

July 25, 2005 Full Review Source:

Sideways is non-mainstream pretentiousness done right

July 6, 2005 Full Review

Sideways is a darkly comical and courageous journey of two ordinary middle-aged men whose only aspirations are to move forward in life.

July 5, 2005 Full Review Source:

A relentless and painfully funny critique of masculine pretense and selfishness, of which wine fetishism is the apotheosis.

June 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Audience Reviews for Sideways

Engaging, well-paced, and ultimately satisfying, Sideways is an enjoyable, well-acted comedy that features tender moments, strong writing, and subtle humor.
March 16, 2014
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

Humanistic, comedic, dark and bittersweet, Sideways is a film that is temporarily moving, and has certain staying power. It creates a fracas, as two best friends see the underbelly of the middle of their lives, while preparing for marriage, the beginnings of a life after divorce, and despairing over the evils of old age. Buddies Miles and Jack road trip to wine country, which ferments the rest of the film in a drunken regard. Between showing drunk Miles pitching away his life again and again, at the bottom of a wine glass, and Jack throwing himself at every woman who moves, it's a nice contrast between two pathetic men showing their true colors in different ways. Giamatti is certainly one of the best character actors of his generation and shows his resolute grace in a role that was made for a sad sack with a penchant for the dramatic. The two friends seem unevenly matched, as Jack wants to be a wild child in the heart of California country, while Miles wants to golf, taste the wine, and bask in sophisticated luxury. They bicker as an old married couple and each gets stranded along the way in their own self-pity and gluttony. Once their female companions (Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh) enter the fray it becomes a love story, one that is awkward and slow, but real and heartbreaking. Between Giamatti and Madsen is the greatest friction and watchability. I couldn't quite get behind Jack (Thomas Hayden Church) who flees from his infidelities with such pathetic irony that it's hard to keep listening. Giamatti comes out the victor of the film, the only one to gain any pride or closure from the trip, or his plight for self-discovery. It's a film about the chances we take and the decisions that bring us happiness rather than self-implosion.
November 5, 2012

Super Reviewer

A very smart, poignant, well written film that is loaded with hilarity. I can't think of a better or more talented cast for a film about finding oneself during a mid-life crisis in California's wine country.

Jack is about to get married, and decides to spend the week before the wedding living it up in California's wine country. Accompanying him is his neurotic, sad sack teacher/best friend Miles, a real wine snob. The two spend a lot of time enjoying wine, women, and life, and also trying to deal with midlife crises and life choices.

The film, typical of Payne's work, is a nice bittersweet mixture of funny and sad, but it's got an undeniable realness about it, so, despite some uncomfortableness now and then, it works quite well and makes it easier to relate to.

The cast was perfectly picked, and they give some Oscar caliber performances. It's just too bad they all got snubbed. At least this film got a Best Picture nod, even if it too got snubbed.

I suppose this film is the source of annoyance and irritation for people who work at liquor stores and wineries, having to deal with people who go to rip on merlot or pick up some pinot noir, but hey, at least it's a sign this movie was watched and enjoyed by people.

Give this one a shot. It's a touching and nice film that really sings. It's incredibly well written, directed, and acted, and is probably Payne's best film, which is really saying something given his track record.
September 3, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Here's my review from the first time I watched this: "I think I was too young for this one... maybe I'll try again during my own mid-life crisis."

Upon re-watching, I'm bumping this rating up by a full star. This is a story of a real-life J. Alfred Prufrock, preparing a face to meet the faces that he meets, and in general, always being let down by life. There may be too many slow music montages, the one metaphor just before the hour mark is _way_ too heavy-handed, and the whole parade-your-pain style of creativity isn't for everyone, but this film has a lot going for it.

A couple of years ago, a friend told me that Paul Giamatti was "robbed" of the Oscar for this film. I bit my tongue. But his character is so believable. The story is honest, engrossing, and the "too real" bits only last so long before moving into more absurd, depressing, blackly funny and/or poetically just moments. That might be the best way to describe Sideways: an okay movie made up of great moments, as two friends embark on a road trip through wine country: Paul Giamatti is like the angel on one shoulder and Thomas Haden Church the devil on the other, and where this movie shines is in their conflict. Like all male friendships, they sort of love each other, but they sort of want to beat each other up...

Oh, and the first time I watched this movie, it was on an airplane. My money says that some parts were omitted to keep it safe if somebody's kid turned it on. With adequate time and space to appreciate all the aromatic notes of the film's flavour, perhaps (like a fine wine) this one gets better with age.**

**-WINNER, Corniest Review Sentence I've Ever Written
May 23, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Miles Raymond: Quaffable but far from transcending.
    – Submitted by Gusto G (23 months ago)
    1. Jack Lapate: See? rigth there... that's beautiful. A smudge of excrement... I could never write that.
    – Submitted by Jorge T (2 years ago)
    1. Jack Lapate: Youre a bad, bad, girl Stephanie.
    2. Stephanie: I know and I need to be spanked.
    – Submitted by Mandy S (2 years ago)
    1. Miles Raymond: It tastes like the back of a fucking L.A. school bus. Now they probably didn't de-stem, hoping for some semblance of concentration, crushed it up with leaves and mice, and then wound up with this rancid tar and turpentine bullshit. Fuckin' Raid.
    2. Jack Lapate: Tastes pretty good to me.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Jack Lapate: Listen, man. Cammi gets off in an hour, so I was thinking I'd just hang around and have a drink, and make sure she gets home safe.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Jack Lapate: If they want to drink Merlot, we're drinking Merlot.
    2. Miles Raymond: No, if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!
    – Submitted by Jake R (3 years ago)
View all quotes (6)

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