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Joe Pantoliano's performance elevates From the Vine.

Handout

  • From the Vine
  • Directed by Sean Cisterna
  • Written by Willem Wennekers, based on the novel by Kenneth Canio Cancellara
  • Starring Joe Pantoliano, Paula Brancati and Wendy Crewson
  • Classification N/A; 97 minutes

rating

2.5 out of 4 stars


If you have seen Under the Tuscan Sun, A Good Year or any number of feather-light comedies about well-off, middle-aged professionals travelling abroad to refresh their spirits, then you know how the new film From the Vine is going to play out. There will be professional and personal crises, an expensive one-way plane ticket, familial strife, guilt-inducing flashbacks, so very much soul-searching, and lots and lots of beautiful European scenery. For some audiences locked down in Canada, this kind of gentle storytelling probably doesn’t sound so bad. In fact, I could likely end the review right here, and you’d know whether director Sean Cisterna’s film is for you or not.

Monthly streaming guide: What’s new to watch on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, CBC Gem, Crave, Disney+, Netflix and on-demand

But you should also know that, while Joe Pantoliano may not initially seem like a solid substitute for, say, Diane Lane or Russell Crowe, the long-time character actor delivers an unexpectedly poignant performance against all the escapism. Playing a restless CEO fleeing his corporate and familial responsibilities in Toronto for the vineyards of Italy, Pantoliano gives a curious edge to the film, turning a stock hero into something a titch more complicated and compelling. His co-stars don’t fare so well – Wendy Crewson seems perpetually impatient, waiting for something interesting to do – but Pantoliano makes every second that he’s not playing his usual gangster or psychopath count.

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From the Vine is now available digitally on-demand

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