Bottle Shock
PG-13
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +1/2

Bill Pullman, Alan Rickman, Chris Pine, Freddy Rodriquez, Rachel Taylor. Comedy/drama. Written by Ross Schwartz, Randall M. Miller, Jody Savin. Directed by Randall Miller. 108 min.

FILM SYNOPSIS: In 1976, a small American winery sent shock waves through the wine industry by besting the exalted French wines in a blind tasting, putting California wines on the map for good. Novice vintner Jim Barrett risked everything to realize his dream of creating the perfect hand-crafted California chardonnay. Meanwhile in Paris, struggling wine seller Steven Spurrier came up with an idea for a publicity stunt to help his floundering shop. Little did Spurrier and Barrett realize they were about to change the history of wine forever.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Its not a perfect movie. The pacing could have been aided by a tightening of the script, and the two male lead characters were the least interesting in the film (Mr. Pullman is a fine actor, just not rightly cast here, and Mr. Pine, in an awful hippy wig, lacks charisma). That said, this is a feel-good movie, one with heart and something positive on its mind.

Wine (and its making) is often used as a metaphor in the Bible. And there are several similes connected to our Lords first miracle, that of turning water into wine. The script contains poetic descriptions of the vine and its care, which can easily be interpreted as symbolic of the nurturing of the human soul. That said, Id like to be sensitive to those who believe we shouldnt drink alcohol in any form. So let me state that drinking is not what this film is about. Though based on a true story, I found the film to be a parable about a family struggling with itself and for its place in the world. They learn that to do something benefiting others, they have to dedicate themselves to hard work and lean on one another. By doing so, we can get through lifes trials when they come. True, theres an element missing in that message the relationship with Christ but I took the films theme to be a positive reminder of the need for nurturing relationships.

Theres humor, beautiful locations, an award-worthy performance by Alan Rickman, a strong message and a good story. Sadly, there is that one element missing, the need for a relationship with God. I know I shouldnt expect a spiritual component in todays movies, but when a film contains a metaphor about nurturing and savoring life, for me somethings missing without that component.

This doesnt seem to be a family that reverences their Creator. Twice I heard the Bill Pullman character profane Gods name; theres no scene to indicate that this is a group that attends church or prays, the younger leads are a bit cavalier when it comes to sex outside marriage, and it can be argued that there are better ways of serving our fellow man than by making wine. But again, Id like to point out that the moral of the story is about a family coming together. And for me, whatever the filmmakers intent, theres a message about developing our gifts. So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians10:31).

For those who would rather not support a film about wine making, try my DVD Alternatives: Eat Drink Man Woman. About love and tradition, the story centers on a Taipei master chef who tries to reunite his family by preparing a weekly meal (its more a banquet). This is a nice film. It does contain subtitles, but its worth it. Make it an exceptional film-viewing experience have a plate of dim sum to go with it.

Or:

Babettes Feast. This 1987 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film concerns two religiously devout Danish sisters who show kindness to a homeless woman. When she wins a lottery, the woman shares her good fortune in a most lavish manner. Based on a short story by Isak Dinessen, it is a beautiful tale of devotion and sacrifice, as well as a healing parable where quarreling friends and acquaintances are brought together once they shed their pious austerity. The film urges us not to hide behind our religion, but to put it into action.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Freestyle Releasing

Summary
Crude Language: A couple of mild sexual innuendos.
Obscene Language: Six or seven obscenities, mostly the s- and f-words
Profanity: Three profane uses of Gods name by the father figure and the expression oh my god is heard three or more times.
Violence: The father/son relationship is sometimes volatile; they box when they get frustrated.
Sexual Intercourse: One implied sexual situation, with an unmarried couple seen in bed; the female lead is attractive and the camera, as well as the two young male co-stars, check her out pretty closely; the film seems to reflect the sexually liberated attitude of that era.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Wine drinking throughout; a few scenes take place in a bar, with the young members of the cast all drinking beer.
Other: None
Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and Adults

Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (www.previeoOnline.org)