An enjoyable but overall flawed road movie. It works on many levels and offers interesting characterization. However, it often feels unorganized and lacks consistency in its direction. I also could've done without the montage sequences. They often felt like wine commercials. Warmly recommended if you have nothing else to watch.
A sharply written and thoughtful dramatic comedy directed by a master of the genre: Alexander Payne. It is filled with interesting, charming and colorful characters. What makes their strength is that their flaws and complexity makes them more human. Giamatti and Haden Church makes a perfect pair together. I ain't a wine lover but I would have loved a bottle while watching it. "I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!"
The 'unfitingness' of the couple adds nothing but even more fun into their chemistry. An exemplary character depiction by Giamatti; hard to beleive that he's not inventing the Miles' posture, his way of climbing of stairs, putting the glass on the table etc. right in front of the camera.
Just recently thought about how much more difficult it is to make a really good comedy as opposed to almost any other genre. And there it is: Alexander Payne's roadmovie "Sideways", a perfect mix of scenes that will make you fall off your sofa laughing, great observations and contemplations about life in general and wine in particular and a looming melancholy, perfectly embodied by Paul Giamatti. Stellar!
Epitome of the mid life crisis, a film that gently and without pretensions de-constructs so neatly this conflicting age, a dreaded life inflexion point that Payne elegantly concocts with humour, loss & utter tenderness. It is also a film that seems to have been incubated in time till finding its perfect incarnation, Paul Giamatti, an actor tailor-made for this role, surrounded by a non less brilliant supporting cast.
I hate brooding characters ("why is this happening to me... my life is hard" type of stuff) but Paul Giamatti is fun to watch. Its okay to laugh at him and feel for him at the same time. Distinct cinematography by the way has a desaturated colour to it like an old postcard.
My favorite Alexander Payne film. Paul Giamatti should have gotten the Academy Award for this film. He more than proves that he can not only carry a film but that his acting is more than on point. Thomas Haden Church holds his own next to Giamatti and two make an engaging duo playing off of each other's weaknesses and shortcomings. Truly a road movie for hipsters.