It might be the anime-watching, fantasy-reading kid in me, but I love movies with fantastical plots. I like plots with big stakes, and the hero needs to save the world, but there are times when I watch what I call no-0nothing movies. No-nothing movies are movies that are more slice-of-life plots where nothing incredibly whimsical happens. And not every no-nothing movie I watch is good, but there are some that I love. The movie of the month, Uncorked, is one of those no-nothing movies, but in the best way possible.
Movie of the Month Uncorked Review
Most of the time, when a movie’s overarching message is about chasing your dreams, it’s usually something out of the ordinary. Top Gun is about wanting to be the best fighter pilot. Rudy is about playing football, and Miracle is about beating the Soviet Union in hockey. Chasing your dreams is a topic that touches most feel-good movies and inspires us to reach for what feels like the unattainable.
Uncorked takes that Disney feel-good magic that we all tend to love in movies about chasing our dreams and shows us the hardship that comes along with it. We don’t get a five-minute training montage in Uncorked. It’s not that kind of movie. It isn’t a Rocky movie, but what we do get is a look into the life of Elijah and his tumultuous relationship with his father as he chases his goal to become a sommelier instead of taking over the family business.
As someone who doesn’t have the best relationship with their dad (A millennial with dad issues? How cliché, I know), this movie captured the awkward tension present in my relationship with my dad. Whether it was Elijah constantly seeking approval from his father to venture out and become his own man with his dreams and aspirations or the inability between the two of them to talk to each other about anything of real substance outside of an argument does hit where it hurts.
I see parts of me in Elijah, but he actively tries to connect with his dad, but his dad shuts it out without trying for the movie’s first half. When all his dad wants is for Elijah to learn the family business so he can take it over one day. It’s the classic Disney “No, Dad! That’s your dream, not mine” schtick but done well. All parents are different, but they all have expectations for their kids, whatever those expectations. In the case of Elijah, it was taking over the BBQ restaurant.
But towards the end of the movie (SPOILER), when Elijah’s mom dies of cancer, his dad starts to support Elijah in the same way my dad shows his support. He was present. Not many words were spoken, and the few that were were inconsequential. But his dad was present, and that’s more than some people can say. The scene where Elijah’s dad brings out the bottle of wine Elijah had gifted him, and they play dominoes together in silence while they wait to hear about Elijah’s Sommelier test score hits like a brick way. You can feel the awkwardness in the support that his dad is trying to give him, but the effort is there, and what more can you ask from someone?
3.8 wine glasses out of 5
The thing I love most about this movie is the ending. Elijah failed his Sommelier test. He passed the theory portion but failed the blind test and service portions. And while the cynic in me would have laughed and loved if the movie credits rolled right there, we get to see a little more into Elijah’s life. We see that he is running the second location of the BBQ restaurant with his dad, but we also see that he hasn’t given up on his dream. He is back in Som School trying to improve at what he loves. Life kicked him in the balls, but he didn’t give up, and there was something inspirational in his attitude. This movie inspires me like Remember the Titans does, but in a more subtle and adult way.
(Also, this movie might have one of the best depictions of a healthy relationship with real communication, arguments, support in loss, and encouragement to chase your dreams.)