Sideways - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sideways Reviews

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½ July 31, 2016
A journey through midlife crisis with pathos and humor in equal doses.
July 24, 2016
This struck me as the quintessential Boomer film. It also cemented my view that Giamatti is one of the most gifted actors working today.
July 23, 2016
Compelling story. A little depressing, but I think the wine complexity parts helped. There was also some comic relief and the writing was good.
½ July 5, 2016
Leave it to Alexander Payne to create such a moving and masterfully funny movie. Sideways centers on two characters, Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church), who embark on a weeklong road trip through the wine country of California, unknowingly at the peak of their midlife crises. Miles recently got out of a divorce, and his struggle with depression has held him back from connecting with new women in his life. Jack is about to get married, on the weekend after the end of the road trip, and is looking to empty out the last of his promiscuous instincts, before sealing the deal. Miles, a wine enthusiast, introduces Jack to the art of wine tasting, along the way running into old friend/fellow wine enthusiast Mia (Virginia Madsen) and a younger wine maid and friend to Mia, Stephanie (Sandra Oh). Jack sees this as an opportunity for double date action, while Miles sees this as a distraction from the greater problems that each one has to confront in their lives. Payne's depiction of how depression manifests in Miles hit home for me, how flashes of what will likely happen next interrupt the present and lead to one dwelling on painful thoughts. Payne uses this for tragic effect in some scenes, and comedic in other scenes. Giamatti's performance works perfectly with the script, showing great value in holding onto preconceptions of particular wines, yet, when life is at stake for other reasons, such preconceptions are altogether sacrificed. What happens to all of that disposed wine, anyway?

While Giamatti is the primary performer, he certainly does not outperform the other actors. Haden Church's character Jack is not as likable or sympathetic as Giamatti's, which is perfect for Haden Church to nail what it is like to act almost exclusively on instinct. Jack as a character, and his relationship with Miles, seem quite distant to the audience, up until one scene where Haden Church, inevitably reveals how helpless he is to his instinctual habits and begs Miles for a steer in the right direction. His 180-degree turn is still rooted in instinct and an objectively unsympathetic cause, however, which means the scene is much funnier than how I am explaining it now. Virginia Madsen has unmatched passion for everything that she says and hears. Relating to Miles on varying levels of depth, I can understand why he might be so strongly attracted to Mia. Madsen is always listening, no matter how blinded she might be by other emotions. This separates her noticeably far from all of the other main characters, especially Stephanie. What Sandra Oh might lack in passion (mind you, with full intention), she makes up for in how much fun she has in every scene. Even when Oh is ruthlessly furious, I see the fun that she is having in bashing someone with a motorcycle helmet. To all four actors, a phenomenal job, truly.

Payne understands life. He is mature enough to recognize that life forces one to move forward, no matter how much we want to dwell on the past. Ultimately, there is no hope or despair. There is only progress. He draws a parallel to his own craft through Miles' novel, pending publishment, AND the finale of the movie. Still... *SPOILERS* I wish that he had cut the last five or so minutes of the movie. My Hollywood-raised heart had wanted Miles and Mia to get together, but after the wedding and the special occasion to which Miles opened his ancient wine, that would have been enough to explain the growth of Miles' character. The ambiguity of the ending, as it is, is nevertheless welcomed. Nothing felt forced. Really, I feel bad for calling out the ending as out of line, for it worked anyway. It's just that the story is more about personal growth than it is about the growth of relationships, and what happens between Miles and Mia is not relevant. Look, don't mind that. I really love this movie. I love how it skewers the BS of wine-tasting through humour so subtle that outside research revealed a shadowy satirical side to Sideways. I love how scenes jump from one to the next, some with smooth sound transitions and others with sharp interruptions. And I love, love, LOVE the cast. A near-perfect comedy, at the least.
½ July 3, 2016
A wine tasting road trip to salute Jack's final days as a bachelor careens woefully sideways as he and Miles hit the gas en route to mid-life crises. The comically mismatched pair, who share little more than their history and a heady blend of failed potential and fading youth, soon find themselves drowning in wine and women. Emerging from a haze of pinot noir, wistful yearnings and trepidation about the future, the two inevitably collide with reality.
½ June 11, 2016
I'd actually give this a 9.5/10, not a 9/10. This is one of my favorite movies, somewhere in the top 25. Let's get my gripes out of the way first. There were several tone shifts, and most were pretty jarring. That resulted in making the movie not flow quite as well, and feel a little long. But only because if they would have fixed the tone shift or cut the scene. And there was some bad editing, and they used fade transitions which don't seem very professional, and used them way to much. Alright, the performances are all pitch perfect. Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church have great chemistry. Everyone else, even the really small parts, are all great and all work. Sandra Oh's character wasn't even supposed to matter, but she made you care. The score is terrific, and I wish I could buy it or download it. The cinematography is great, they get some really great shots that really make the movie look great! The direction is excellent, Alexander Payne is one of my favorite directors. The writing is very good, but not perfect. It's not really as much a comedy, but there are laughs, and they all work!
April 26, 2016
Another Alexander Payne road trip journey that offers nothing new in plot.
Super Reviewer
April 6, 2016
Not exactly life-changing but it had its moments. And Paul Giamatti.
March 28, 2016
Aside from a few good performances by Giamatti, Haden Church and Madsen, I think what drives this movie is the writing. This is some pretty darn good screenwriting right here.
March 22, 2016
I appreciated Sideways unpredictablity and performances more with a second viewing. Its a funny and well written film that mixes comedy and seriousness really well.
March 5, 2016
Alexander Payne masterfully blends dark humour with introspective drama in this well acted road trip.
February 12, 2016
my favorite movie of all time. Great film to practice acting too.
February 3, 2016
One of my all time favourites, just like the wine it features, it gets better with age a thought after consuming it.
½ February 2, 2016
An excellent 'dramedy'
January 12, 2016
A drama worth checking out with Paul Giamatti's performance as the core of the film
January 7, 2016
Devout to its journey's cause thanks to superb lead performances and a wonderful screenplay by Payne and Jim Taylor, Sideways is just like an excellent pinot: rich in many wonderful flavours, capturing middle-life's joyful highs and painful lows.
½ January 3, 2016
Funny sad one of best movies duels of all time overall highly recommend it Payne does it agin by giving us a another great story people dealing with lives harsh realities
½ December 13, 2015
I have yet to see a bad film directed by Payne. The 4 main characters have depth and meaning as does the film. I love the way this movie is filmed and the dialogue is sublime. Some movies just work and leave you wanting more.... It's rare one over two hours can do that.
November 1, 2015
This movie gave me all the feels (and also reminded me why I love Paul Giamatti)... and made me want to go pour a nice glass of pinot.
½ October 25, 2015
10/24/15 After our recent trip to Napa Valley, it just seemed appropriate to watch this again. I had already seen it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it the second time through as well. It is pretty funny what a mess these 2 guys are, and it is entertaining watching them bumble through the week. We were told in Napa that this film single-handedly killed the Merlot varietal of wine, and I am shocked by that. It was just one line in the film! (He says he will NOT drink Merlot). We also learned that the 1961 wine that he has been saving is indeed a Merlot! This film is somewhat of a classic and probably a must see for most adults.
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