I have just returned from dinner with some friends. The movie “Sideways” came up when we were toasting with wine.

Sideways Movie Poster

Sideways Movie Poster

Remember the scene in “Sideways” when the main character, played by Paul Giamatti, drinks mind-numbing amounts of wine in a McDonald’s?

Here’s what I remember about the movie Sideways. I didn’t like it the first time I saw it. I guess I wasn’t ready for its deliberate style, or, nuanced characters. I was impatient, perhaps.

I’m lucky that I saw the movie again. It’s wonderful. The characters are unique, and, each struggling in his or her own way.

Well, not all of the characters. The character played by Thomas Haden Church is truly vacuous. His lack of depth provides for the comic relief within the movie.

But the rest of the characters weave an interesting tapestry of what looks to be real human interaction – the moving closer, then, the moving away, then struggling to find a middle ground that works even in the face of our own weaknesses and frailties.

“Sideways” takes place mainly in the wine country of northern California. So, it’s only fitting that the movie has to be savored to be enjoyed. There is no quick rush. Just an enjoyable, evolving, and lingering satisfaction.

sideways paul giamatti and virginia madsen

Sideways Paul Giamatti and Virginia Madsen

I also particularly enjoyed the performance of Virginia Madsen. In a society obsessed with youth, it was refreshing to see an older, intelligent woman who, let’s face it, is far sexier than any flavor of the month gracing Hollywood’s magazines.

Ms. Madsen portrays a sensual and intelligent woman, who is world-wise, but also gentle and caring. That, my friends, is sexy.

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