'Uncorked' Movie Review

Some dreams can't stay bottled up...

Uncorked movie trailer

Introduction

"Father knows best". Elijah is next in line to operate the established, family-owned, BBQ joint business. However, Elijah has a different taste for the world. Despite the father's efforts to prepare Elijah to takeover the business, he soon realises that his son is a master, not of BBQ, but of wine.

Key themes

Elijah rushes from his job at a wine shop to attend his other commitment at his family establishment. Elijah's father, Louis, takes Elijah to buy wood. Louis invites Elijah to visit the business's new meat distributor with him, however, Elijah declines as he has to sort out wine shipments. Louis becomes frustrated, but calms down, ensuring that Elijah knows he is coming 'next time'

Elijah talks about his wine job at the family dinner table. He is shot down by Louis. Elijah's mother, Sylvia, defends her son and tells Louis to start supporting Elijah

Elijah takes an entry exam to become a master sommelier. Elijah passes and informs Louis that he does not want to run the family business as he will be busy going to winery school. Louis shares his disappointment and Elijah settles to go to school whilst helping out with the business

Elijah battles against another student, 'Harvard', in his class and loses. Frustrated, Elijah joins Harvard's study group. Whilst attempting to swap shifts, in order to attend his new study group, Louis reminds Elijah of his promise that school will not interfere with him running the business. Elijah, in defeat, compromises

Elijah receives the opportunity to go to France, but cannot afford it. Harvard agrees to share the costs equally, but Elijah is still uncertain. Tanya tries to persuade Elijah to go on the trip and increase his chances of becoming a master sommelier. Elijah grows frustrated and criticises Tanya for not trying herself. They argue

Elijah's family raise over $3000 to help Elijah go to France. Before departure, Elijah admits the truth about the family business to Louis and they end with bitter words

Whilst at France, Elijah finds out that Harvard is being forced to travel back to Nashville. Elijah can't afford to pay for the costs of the France trip alone, so has to get a job

Sylvia has an outbreak of lung cancer. Elijah gets a call that she has died and travels back to Memphis to attend the funeral. Elijah tries to reconnect with his father and struggles to focus on wine school

Elijah becomes dedicated to helping Louis run the business. Elijah drops out of from wine school.

Louis encourages Elijah to pursue his dreams and helps Elijah revise wine theories and tasting. Elijah commits to attending his master sommelier exam.

Louis visits Elijah, who is waiting in anticipation for the exam results. Unfortunately, Elijah fails. Elijah refocuses on running the business

On a dinner date with Tanya, Elijah bumps into Richie, a friend from wine school, who is now a certified master sommelier.

As Louis collects his order of hickory wood; he calls Elijah to identify his whereabouts and ask him to come and help. Elijah says he can't make it

Elijah re-enrols into wine school, determined to pass and become a certified master sommelier.

Key observations

  • Elijah rushed to leave the wine shop at 11:15 am. How long had he been working that day? When did the shop open? Is he on a highly flexible contract?
  • Why does Elijah's family not know what his role at the wine shop consists of (sommelier)? They are supposedly a 'close' family
  • How did Elijah find the time to take the winery exam when Louis is adamant about him working at the restaurant?
  • Why and how did Elijah and Richie becomes friends? How often was Richie at Elijah's apartment to know Tanya's (Elijah's girlfriend) favourite mug?
  • Elijah seems a bit distant from his family - why didn't he tell them about Tanya?
  • Why is Harvard, Elijah's top component, concerned about Elijah's inability to go to France? Why is Harvard so willing to help Elijah?
  • How did Elijah obtain a cooking job in France? How did he get a job, in a foreign country, so quickly?
  • Why would the hospital nurse wheel Sylvia into the middle of the corridor and leave her there?
  • $10,000 seems an inadequate amount payable for students to study in France for months
  • How was Richie capable of affording the trip to France and to pay for Elijah's wine, when he had no money for coffee in Memphis?
  • How did Louis and the family afford home care for Sylvia? They recently took out a loan for the new BBQ restaurant, how were they able to afford this specialised care?
  • Who called Elijah informing him that Sylvia passed away? Sounded a lot like Richie; if it was, how did he know?
  • How did Elijah travel back to Memphis early? What about his expenses and the non-refundable airline tickets?
  • Elijah was blowing his hands to keep them warm in the early winter morning. He had started a fire and lots of steam was in the atmosphere from the heat - how were his hands still cold?
  • How did Elijah rejoin winery school after dropping out. He was informed that after withdrawal, his only option would be to restart the school from the beginning. How did Elijah rejoin to his previous position?

Conclusion

Uncorked is an inspirational film, encouraging young people to aspire and persevere to attain desired goals. The ending signifies persistence and portrays the saying "practice makes perfect". Very unexpected that Richie, who struggled tremendously, passed the master sommelier exam, however, it was his second tryout. The film failed to knit Louis and Elijah back together as it appears that Elijah's interest, to help his father run the family business, is based on guilt from Sylvia's death. The conflict between the father and son created a pure moment when they supported one another, despite their perspective differences. One lesson learnt is that it is never too late. It was not too late for Louis or Elijah, they both pursued their visions for their realities.

Cast

Mamoudou Athie - Elijah

Courtney B. Vance - Louis

Niecy Nash - Sylvia

Sasha Compère - Tanya

Gil Ozeri - Richie

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Debbie Bello
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