Based on the novel Finding Marco by Kenneth Canio Cancellara, From The Vine is a comedy drama film that tells the story of a burned out businessman who travels to his childhood home in Italy and attempts to relaunch his families old vineyard.
The story starts when we meet Marco Gentile (Joe Pantoliano) who isn’t satisfied with his job or his life in Canada, so in a moment of haste, he decides to go on a holiday to his hometown in Acerenza, Italy. While in Italy, Marco decides to start up his family’s wine business again after realising that the vineyard is in a state of disrepair. So, with the assistance of the locals, Marco gets to work on getting the vineyard back into shape. Meanwhile, not happy with his sudden departure and that he is spending money from their retirement fund, Marco’s wife Marina (Wendy Crewson) and his daughter Laura (Paula Brancati) travel to Italy to bring Marco home, but they soon realise that life in Italy isn’t too bad so they extend their stay and help Marco.
I have to admit that I was surprised on how much I enjoyed this film. It is the perfect mix of drama and comedy, and I liked the idea that it doesn’t matter what your age is, if you are not happy with the way your life is, then you can do something about it and start over. I also found the wine making process to be very interesting as it is informative to how wine is made and it added another layer to the film. The shots of Acerenza looked amazing and it looks like the kind of destination that would be a nice place to visit. I enjoyed all of the acting performances in this film, but I very much enjoyed the performance of Joe Pantoliano the most as Marco, as he was able to show off his range as an actor. In some scenes he he is funny, but he also shows his more serious side as well.
From The Vine is a feel-good movie and while it is kind of predicable, I was surprised with the amount of quirky moments in this film. There are scenes that involve Marco either daydreaming or hallucinating, for example when he is doubting himself as a winemaker, the plants begin to make fun of him and on several occasions a statue will move its limbs or roll it’s eyeballs as if they are alive. I found it surprising for a film that is based in reality to have such quirky surreal moments, but I felt that it added to the fun of the film.
From The Vine is a film that will show you that it is never too late to start over and that work and money isn’t all that life has to offer. It is the type of film that some people might need in their lives, especially if you need a little inspiration.
From The Vine premiered in Toronto, Canada at the 2019 Italian Contemporary Film Festival and is in Australian cinemas now.