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Sideways! – Film Review

These reviews of various films are simply an exercise to get the students 
to put their point of view as clearly and succinctly as possible to paper.
During the semester we looked at a number of films, concentrating
largely on these films from an actors point of view.
Committing their points of view to paper clearly, as an exercise, 
is the 1st step in developing their vocabulary for examining and sharing
what does and does not resonate for them as regards script, picture, 
and performance.
Alex Murphy

Two middle-aged men are going on a trip to the idyllic countryside for a week. One tries to cope with his past, specifically, a painful divorce… the other tries to cope with his marriage which is scheduled just days after their return. This drama/comedy shows us in a funny, but also moving way, how different people deal with certain situations in life. The characters go through a variety of emotional states in this movie. Sadness, happiness, anger, thankfulness, back to sadness again. SIDEWAYS, a kind of a two hour roller-coaster.

The two main characters, Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church), couldn’t be more different… Jack, a positive, good-looking, somewhat air-headed, failed actor, who wants to get laid at least ONCE before he gets married. Miles, a depressive, not so attractive, lonely, failed writer/teacher, who just wants to drink wine and play golf. Miles and Jack…an interesting combination of personalities if you ask me. The misunderstandings between the two and then the mounting frustrations makes this duo hilarious to watch.

Both Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church  portray their characters in a and believable way. It is very easy to empathize with them. The interaction between the two is amazing. They listen and react… listen and react… verbally and physically. They have a great feeling for timing. Paul showed us how you can transfer information to an audience without using (too many) words. Sometimes just the look on his face was enough to know how he feels about himself and his failed marriage.

Also the women in this movie are doing a great job. The interaction between them and the guys is very good. Maya (Virginia Madsen) a rather quiet, calm, little mysterious, also wine loving person, matches Miles in a great way. You can definitely feel the chemistry between the two in the scene on the porch where they’re talking about their wines.

Stephanie (Sandra Oh) and Jack are a nice match too, in a total different way. Both of the characters are kind of naïve and are trying to enjoy life as much as they can.

The movie is well written. Great monologues… great use of metaphors. I love the monologue in which Miles explains to Maya ‘’why he is so into Pinot’’. In this monologue he actually describes himself. Himself, the Pinot. Especially the lines ‘’(…) No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. (…)‘’ I find very interesting. Chosen nicely.

But not only the monologues are very nice to listen to, also the dialogue is great.

JACK: See? Right there. Just what you just said. That is beautiful. ‘’A smudge of excrement…surging out to sea.’’

MILES: Yeah.

JACK: I could never write that.!

MILES: Neither could I, actually. I think it’s Bukowski.

A two hour roller-coaster about life. Maybe two hours was a little bit too long, but nevertheless I had a fun two hours. With laughs and tears … but mostly laughs. Thanks to the nice writing and acting.

Soraya Entrop, acting student



IAFT Cebu, Philippines is a film school that delivers an educational experience that reflects Hollywood roots and traditions. Founded in 2004, IAFT Cebu offers Certificate and Diploma programs in film , acting and 3D animation. Located in: One Hollywood Blvd
, Bigfoot I.T. and Media Park, Lapu-lapu City, Cebu, Philippines. Email:, Contact Numbers: Globe/Viber: +63-917-314-3456 Smart: +63-947-991-9659 Phone: +63-32-495-2111