Learning from the Movies: A Good Year (2006)

A Good Year Synopsis: London-based investment expert Max Skinner (Russell Crowe), who works 24X7, moves to Provence, France to sell a small vineyard he has inherited from his late uncle. Max is shown to be a shrewd person who doesn’t have time for anything except his career and money.
Shortly after his arrival in Provence, he discovers that his latest financial stunt has landed him in hot water with the government and with his firm’s management, necessitating his return to London later in the day. Before heading back to the airport, in order to assist his realtor with the sale, he hurriedly snaps photos of the estate, and in doing so, falls into an empty swimming pool. (He is unable to escape until Fanny Chenal, whose bicycle he ran off the road with his careless driving, turns on the water supply in retaliation.) The resulting delay causes him to miss his flight, and because he fails to report in person to management, he is suspended from work and trading activities for one week. However, he does sell his inherited property and goes back to London.
Back in London, management offers Max a choice: “money or your life” — either a discharge settlement which includes “a lot of zeros” or partnership in the trading firm in which he would be “made for life”. During a discussion with his boss, Max views a painting in his room appreciatively, something which he never did before. Max finally chooses the money and cleverly negates the sale of the estate by orchestrating through a forged letter from his uncle Henry that Christie (illegitimate daughter of his late uncle) has a valid claim on the property. He puts up his London residence for sale and returns to Provence, entering into a relationship with Fanny, while Christie and Francis (a winemaker) must reconcile their vastly different philosophies of wine production and jointly run the vineyard.
The movie makes us aware that there are other fine things in life which one should admire, rather than being part of the rat race, which ultimately takes away the true self of a human being. From being a shrewd investment expert, Max gradually transforms into a good human being and leaves his high paying job, to go back to a place in the countryside of France, to enjoy life as it comes. All of us have priorities and all of us have choices – to live a life which is joyful. Hence, having a work-life balance is very important. Not everyone is fortunate like Max as not everyone has an uncle who leaves an estate in France, for inheritance. But we can all acquire the wisdom to enjoy the finer things in life – family, nature, the birds and the trees, good friends, a walk in the woods etc.