User Reviews (29)

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  • I saw this film recently in France, where it was released in 2001. I had no idea what to expect, but I was really surprised by how good it was. I found it very funny, the soundtrack was good and the performances by Rufus Sewell and Nigel Hawthorne were excellent. The film was a bit different from the usual 'Hollywood blockbusters' that I have come to expect from U.K cinemas, and it is a shame that it has not been released over here. I would love to get hold of a copy of the film, but it appears that it has not been released on video, which is also a crying shame.
  • My comments are for the people who will rent this movie and be tempted to turn it off after the first 30 minutes. For me, this movie had a slow start, and frankly I was scratching my head a bit wondering where this movie was going and whether I had rented a dud. My husband, son, and I persevered and loved watching this movie unfold into a delightful story about family and the accompanying quirks, highs and lows, and often misunderstandings that occur between relatives. When the movie concluded, we looked at each other and said, "Now that was a good movie!"
  • I rented this film for one main reason, because I am a fan of Rufus Sewell, what I ended up getting out of it is so much more than just a great performance by him, but a very good film. What I admired most about it is the way it was shot, it has very clever and yet simple camera moves. The plot sways between everyday realism, and the kind of chance some dream of. It was undeniably lovely, a gem. I have never felt that a movie deserved those terms more. It's a pity not that many people will ever get to see it, and even if they did, most wouldn't be able to appreciate it. It is full of easy to understand philosophical ideas and wit. Everything feels balanced out. All in all, I liked it. Go see it, it's worth it.
  • Production quality has a made-for-TV feel but it doesn't matter much. Nothing is outright bad or distracting; in fact, the lighting is quite beautiful in many scenes. The story itself isn't very plausible, but leaves enough unsaid that you can imagine it possible that such eccentric characters exists in some corner of rural California.

    It's the characters who make the film. Nigel Hawthorne's Uncle Cullen is the odd ascetic who sits on a pillar but manages to repair the soul of Ross (Rufus Sewell) who is chasing after the wind with his "business" ventures, and the love life of Kendal (Minnie Driver) who longs to be with her first love, but won't admit it to herself. The movie touches on spiritual matters as the characters come to understand who they really are and what they really want out of life.

    The humor is sprinkled throughout, expertly placed just when the story needs an emotional pick-me-up. Mr. Tang playing the guitar is one of the funniest scenes I've seen, one that I laugh at still, after having seen it a dozen times.

    High art it's not, but well made, touching and entertaining, even if the producer/director (John Huddles) is a relative unknown.
  • First of all I must admit that I am a great admirer of Rufus Sewell. That was the main reason I couldn't hardly contain myself when this was finally released in the U.S. as Uncorked. I would not however, be so biased as not to include Nigel Hawthorne in this comment.

    The story was cute, I must say a little girlie, but definitely not like every other movie. Nigel Hawthorne as Uncle Cullen was probably my favorite part of the movie. His ability to be completely impossible to all the other characters, with out making him any less likable was amazing. Of course all the performances were great, his just really stood out.

    My favorite part of the entire movie though, was within the first five minutes. It was an exchange between the characters Mr. Tan and Ross regarding a straw. It sounds a little strange, but that just cracked me the heck up.

    Overall I would just like to say that the wait for it to come to the U.S. was totally worth it, and I would recommend it to anyone.
  • jhclues4 February 2002
    Question: Why does a holy man sit alone atop a mountain? Answer: To gain perspective. Which in the end is what this film is all about-- finding the right perspective on life; figuring out what it is you were truly meant to do or be. And it points out nicely that the wisest among us are often the very ones we are prone to ignore or dismiss out-of-hand. `Uncorked ("At Sachem Farm"),' directed by John Huddles, is a small film that in the end has a substantial message that is almost profound in it's simplicity. Nothing new, perhaps, but something that so many people in our fast food generation fail to recognize or embrace, so this film actually serves as something of a wake-up call to those who have unknowingly lost that all-important perspective, and need it--whether they know it or not.

    The story takes place at Sachem Farm (which could be anywhere in the world), where Ross (Rufus Sewell) lives with his Uncle Cullen (Nigel Hawthorne) and his brother, Paul (Michael Rodgers), though Paul is something of a hermit and prefers to live in the forests and fields that surround the farm, cultivating gardens out of the wilderness. Ross's girlfriend, Kendal (Minnie Driver), along with her friend, Laurie (Amelia Heinle) arrives for a stay at a very interesting time: Ross is about to conclude a deal that will finance his dream of buying and working a nearby magnesium mine, in which he sees his future and fortune awaiting. Circumstances instigated by Uncle Cullen, however, interfere; the situation turns bad, then gets worse, with the arrival of a pillar-- specially ordered by Cullen and standing at a height of twenty cubits (yes, he specifically ordered it in cubits)-- atop which Cullen subsequently takes up residence, without any intention of ever coming back down. The reclusive Paul, meanwhile, continues to work on his gardens, and Kendal encounters an old flame, Tom (Gregory Sporleder), a neighbor and former high-diver whose dreams of gold were abruptly ended some years before by a broken ankle, and who now spends his time at the lake, obsessed with regaining his form. It's an eclectic bunch, to say the least, not to mention eccentric; and Ross feels it has fallen to him to set the lives of those around him aright. To which each, in turn, say to him in their own way: `Good luck.' And such is life on Sachem Farm.

    Huddles, who also wrote the story and screenplay, has crafted and delivered a quaint, quirky and somewhat insightful film, which he presents rather artistically, though at a pace that leaves something to be desired, at least early on. At times he allows the eye of the camera to roam, lending some quite interesting visual perspectives to the film (such as a moving overhead shot of Cullen atop his pillar), which he combines with different speeds and some jump cuts that are very effective. There are moments, though, when the action seems a bit too `staged,' and makes you aware that these are actors playing parts, which tends to take you out of the story. But there are also moments that are extremely engaging-- often humorous and sometimes rather poignant-- that make the whole experience worthwhile. The early part of the film tends to stall and initially seems in need of a destination, but it finds soon enough, and eventually takes you in a direction that is unexpected, but rewarding.

    As Cullen, Nigel Hawthorne is subtly flamboyant, creating a very detailed and three-dimensional character who very gradually draws you in as the story unfolds. And, interestingly enough, as the character develops-- and quite nicely-- he doesn't change, though the viewer's perspective of him does; and as that perspective on Cullen shifts, it puts the story in a new light, as well. Slowly, the true meaning of what is happening on Sachem Farm begins to emerge, and that deliberate pace set by Huddles that seemed off-putting at first actually facilitates an understanding of the situation at hand. And Cullen-- especially because of Hawthorne's fine performance-- becomes a pivotal element that gives focus to this new perspective. Huddles may have come up a bit short of attaining the emotional involvement and the connection with the audience to which he aspired, but by the end you realize there was a method to his madness, and it actually worked fairly well.

    Minnie Driver (who served as executive producer of this film, along with her sister, Kate, as well as Hawthorne), does a good job as Kendal, though you get the feeling her character is there mainly to support the story rather than add to it, and serves primarily as a tool to move it all along, as her connection with Tom-- and even Ross-- is a fairly minor part of the plot. Kendal, as well as Laurie, are the two characters you're left wanting to know more about, in fact.

    Rufus Sewell gives a good, extremely natural performance as Ross, but it's one of those roles that tends to be taken for granted because it is played so effectively, like DiCaprio in `Titanic' or Gable in `Gone With the Wind.' It's a matter of not receiving the acclaim that is due simply because the job has been done so well. This film is on a much smaller scale, of course, but the situation is the same. And looking at it objectively, Sewell does an outstanding job here.

    The supporting cast includes Keone Young (Mr. Tang), Elizabeth Tsing (Maya) and Chalvay Srichoom (Cha). They may not have lined up the Oscars for this one, but nevertheless, `Uncorked' has merit in it's subtle message, and for a pleasant diversion is definitely worth a look. Huddles certainly doesn't drive home his point with a hammer, and it may take you a while to digest it all, but after awhile you may find yourself reflecting a bit and saying, `Yeah, okay...I get it--' And that's the magic of the movies. 7/10.
  • I just saw this movie which just came out on video here in the states and found it to be the best use of Rufus Sewell's talents as an actor. He gets to be brooding, sexy, sweet, baffled, everything that I have seen him be in little bits and pieces in other movies, but never all together in one place. This movie gave him the chance to really show us that he can be a leading man in a movie and do it very well. I hope to see more of this kind of work from him in the future. Also, the whole theme of the movie was just right, I enjoyed the quirkiness of the characters involved in the movie and the excellent music used throughout. I found the movie to be very romantic and sensual in a different way than a period piece movie. I highly recommend this movie to anyone looking for a good British comedy/drama. I found it to be very enlightening--the character that Nigel Hawthorne plays is much smarter than Rufus' character gives him credit for and that is the real key. Enjoy it!
  • flamarr7914 August 2002
    Although the editing and sound production were horrendous, the film stands as one of my favorite movies. The art direction, character development, acting, and the overall script were phenomenal. I would recommend this movie to everyone.
  • surfer46114 February 2002
    Dialogue that practiced what it was preaching... in that, if one just sits down things will become clear. Uncorked (or ‘At Sachem Farm') will probably click more with new agers than gen-Xers... highlighting the silliness of pursuing material wealth over personal happiness and fulfillment. Excellent cinematography coupled with an outstanding soundtrack (Tara MacLean, Sara McLachlan, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Grant Lee Buffalo) combine to make it one of the best ‘feel good' movies I've seen in a while.
  • The main characters in this movie can't seem to let go. Of their ambitions, their sorrows, or their perceptions of the way life should unfold. They all seem to be hung up on bygone expectations, missing out on potential happiness because they can't, or won't, be where they are while they're there. They are looking for a life that they don't yet realize they don't need, or want. The main character has abandoned his dreams a long time ago, as most in this film have to some degree, and is selfishly attempting to raise the money to buy an abandoned manganese mine. His uncle tries (in a way reminiscent of Andy Griffith) to force him to see what is right in front of his face. This movie has a dream like feel and it is hard to understand at first if you are not used to accents. One should not expect this movie to be action packed, but it is a heartwarming tale of a group of people trying to find their way through life, only to find it is not the epic and tragic journey they had once expected.
  • karin-mika11 July 2005
    Very few movies stay with me, but from the opening scene, I knew this one would be with me. From the very first scene complete with appropriate background music, I knew this movie would be something special. It is not so much that this movie teaches a lesson about introspection and what should be appreciated, it is how the movie does it without pronouncements and without the customary selling points that we expect to see in modern movies (i.e, gratuitous sex or murder scenes). The character of Uncle Cullen is terrific and brings everything together. As soon as I finished the movie, I wanted to watch it all over again and have everyone else see it. I'm not sure how it struck other people, but for anyone who has ever wondered about what he/she does from day to day and why it is so important, this is essential viewing.
  • debejere8 January 2019
    And I cried! Such a funny and inspiring show! Rufus Sewell I just am such an admirer. Harthorwne.... lessons learned! Just a good show. Give ur a try and a chance. I had to laughed as well, lots of cute -- old people moments!
  • A remarkable film, rich with wisdom, humor and a benevolent outlook on life. It has been my favorite movie for years, I've watched it countless times, I've never outgrown it, and I never cease to find new beauty in it.

    THE THEME: What role does philosophy play in the life of man? THE PLOT-THEME: "Can a man sitting on a pillar be relevant to the world in which he lives?" THE PLOT (without spoilers): A young man struggles to figure out what he wants to do with his life. Everything he attempts ends in failure. When he decides to sell the most valuable asset he owns and invest the proceeds in his craziest idea yet, a quirky (deceptively illogical) chain of events is initiated by his uncle, to help his nephew find the road to happiness.

    Edmond Rostand wrote "Cyrano de Bergerac" in his early thirties; Huddles wrote and brought to life "Uncorked." (Or "Higher Love" as it was called in Europe; or "At Satchem Farm" as he originally titled it.) The only sadness I feel when I watch this movie comes from realizing that we live in a culture that didn't award an Oscar (several of them) to this achievement. I hope Mr Huddles stumbles on this review. I wanted to say, "Thank you for seeing me through moments of doubt and sadness over many years."
  • fierypoeticgirl10 October 2008
    Warning: Spoilers
    I think it's strange when they give a movie two completely different titles. Rufus Sewell and Minnnie Driver star in a movie called "Uncorked," but on Sewell's filmology it is called, "At Sachem Farm." This is the second time a movie made by Sewell has been called by another title. This will mess people's minds up! Anyway, "Uncorked" is delightfully fun and well worth the watch. It teaches a valuable lesson in that "game" called life. Everyone gives an incredible performance. The main lesson is that it's so easy to lose your perspective on your life, but sometimes a person needs to swallow his/her pride and trust in family to help himself/herself out. Like Barbara once sang, "People who need people are the luckiest people in the world!! I know, it's corny, but true.
  • brian-martin-378 August 2007
    This has been my favourite movie for quite a while. It took me a couple of viewings to figure out what was going on. Ross and Kendal weren't so great for me at first but I came to like them both. That's the nature of Ross I guess, you think he's quite foolish and so on but then you start to recognise that he's you(this may only be the situation for me ;o).

    Uncle Cullen was by far the best out of the lot of them, what with his scarf and basic pair of comfortable shoes. His lines were outstanding, every word and source of inspiration.

    I first saw the movie just after I started a Theology and Philosophy course so perhaps I made some connections that others might not have. The Theological ideas behind the relationship between 'Uncle' Cullen and Ross are what made this movie for me. I just love watching it. It makes me feel nice, and I guess that's what I want out of a movie.

    I have shown this film to some of my family and some friends and I'm not sure that they got the same out of it as me(maybe because they hadn't been smoking). I did find that some scenes were quite cheesy for a movie of these days, which is why I tend to think of it as more a play than a movie. Photography in most of the movie is beautiful. Makes you want to live on Sachem Farm with no cares in the world but, when the movie's over, you've got to get back to reality.

    There are things I didn't like about it. Just a few, and they're not of any importance so I don't think about them. Like I said the people who I introduced to it didn't seem to like it. So I would say to people that are thinking about buying/watching this film, you've got to be a dreamer to like this. It's a fantasy world through and through, with characters that can be real annoying at times(like everyone including yourself).

    I love this movie, in every sense of the word love. It changed me in ways I never thought a movie could. My thanks to director Mr. Huddles and every actor who gave their part.

    Take it easy :o)
  • An American movie without violence. Starts out with the frustration and anger of modern life. Then plans for self improvement at the expense of others. Turns to frantic action to save family members. The greedy plans unravels and frustration grows. Personal relationships of family members vanishes in thin air. Each individual strives for a solution that eludes them. Slowly ideas from a calmer time and culture takes root. As the personal problems can not be resolved, individuals help others instead. Then as they stop struggling with their own problems. The problems stop haunting them. And one by one they slowly come to face serenity. A gem for your heart and soul.
  • Thanks Melodie. I, too, am a huge Rufus Sewell fan, and just recently got this film off auction at eBay. I am hesitant to buy movies I haven't seen (especially because I did that for some Russell Crowe movies, and discovered I'd wasted my money in some cases). In this case, the price was so low, I decided it was worth it.

    Glad to see I won't be disappointed. After seeing Cold Comfort Farm, I had a feeling I'd be happy with this film, too (titled "Uncorked" in America).

    Thanks again - I can't wait to watch it!
  • Not a bad movie. Interesting, thoughtful and well acted. Reading the credits, I could not believe the entire movie was filmed in L.A.! Some of the arboretum scenes looked great, I can't believe there are parts of L.A. that look like that. Anyway, this had a nice story. At first, you think what the hell is up with the Uncle, but then you learn that he is a somewhat wise man, whom should be listened to.
  • arxantes19 December 2001
    I just finished watching this film on tv and I want to share my feelings with you.

    I really enjoyed watching this film, such an excellent romantic comedy. it is the kind of film that transmits you an optimism and a view of life's philosophy that is hard to forget. The character of uncle Cullen (played by an astonishing Nigel Howthorn) is the basis of this film but not the protagonist whom he played the talented Rufus Sewell. I really don't want to say pointless things about the movie but I have to tell you that it was a major surprise for me because I watched it by lack because I had nothing to do at that time. In a few words, very good script, clear and smooth performances and GREAT GREAT music (especially the guitar sequence)
  • clgraham8222 December 2001
    I just rented this movie - and let me tell you it was amazing! Originally I got it because it had Minnie Driver ... but in the end I loved it for all of the 'odd' characters. The movie isn't anything fabulous. It isn't spectacular. It's down to earth and homey. I honestly don't know how better to explain it. It's one of those movies that warms your heart (some would call it a 'chick flick') and seems to give a purpose to the ending plight known as life. But it doesn't give direct answers ... but merely makes you take a second look at everything around you and give you something to think on. The most memorable line of the film to me is "It's just a place to sit..." because things in life are only as big and grand as we make them out to be. The movie won't win any Oscars .... but it wins my vote for People's Choice.
  • This film is a masterpiece of... production design. The sets, the clothes, the lighting, everything is so perfect that it feels like a dream, or possibly a TV ad for really expensive scotch. The direction and editing are irregular at best (and pretty bad at worst). The acting is mostly mediocre (with the exception of Nigel Hawthorne, who is perfect as always), although part of that boils down to the script and the editing. The story is predictable and uninspired.

    This is one of those movies that you keep hoping will get better, but never does. And it's annoying to see good actors, good sets and a good crew wasted on such a poor story, and then further butchered by senseless editing.
  • I saw this film at a film festival and I would have to say it gives the best performance by Rufus & Minnie. Excellent visuals for a basic/simple story. Very well directed. Must see.
  • I have never figured out how stuff this awful gets made. It's not pointless, I'll give it that, its just so derivative and takes its own Great Heart for granted that it never bothers to articulate. Nigel Hawthorne plays the traditional Holy Fool who has a $134,000 pillar built so he can sit on it and work his spiritual magic. The problem to overcome is that Rufus Sewell, who lives in a sprawling mansion on a piece of property with its own lake, forest and hills, needs money which he plans to get by selling his uncles wine collection so he can start up an old manganese mine. Don't think about it, just go along with it. Minnie Driver, who I guess is his designated girlfriend ain't driving no mini as she pulls up to the front door behind the wheel of a half million dollar Mercedes 300 SL. I couldn't figure out the meaning of 'needs money' in the context of this film.

    In fact in as much as Driver was driving the '56 Merc and Mr. Tang, the potential wine buyer, shows up at the front door in a cherry '54 Oldsmobile kited out as a taxi, and another character drives around in an early'50's pick-up truck I wasn't sure when this was happening. Certain accessories like watches and sunglasses seemed a lot more contemporary than the '50s. Then there were these Indians and hippies who never speak but suddenly turn up underfoot, literally in one scene, eating on the floor while everyone else is sitting at the table. I thought it all might be taking place in present day Paraguay but the Indians turn out to be the 'H'mung people'. Right.

    The rest of the story plays out to a dumb 'Follow your heart, Luke' philosophy complete with mad Uncle Cullen playing Yoda and the money troubles are solved because Sewell will record an acoustic guitar CD, sure to make millions.

    And there are these two silent but beautiful androids of either gender who hang around until the end so as to be more fitting love objects for Sewell and Driver, as if their long, long, incredibly long conversational duels would have put an intolerable strain on their relationship.

    It's the old thing of the difference between showing a thing and saying you're showing a thing. The wise and/or holy fool is spiritually correct because the script says he is. If one considers Socrates, then it is the unexamined life which is not living, not the involuntarily feckless. In this story the answer would seem to be married to a blowup doll who will never question, challenge, doubt or talk back, hardly spiritual perfection or natural harmony. It's kind of spooky to watch. One thinks of deals made with the devil. The end credit says it was filmed entirely in Los Angeles.
  • KTDawn21 August 2006
    This is one of my favorite movies. I love how the characters and the plot develop slowly. Each character is totally unique and has something great to give to the plot that is so bizarre you wonder what in the world is happening. But everything is connected in a surprising way. It's one of those movies that you don't get until the end when everything is pulled together-and then you are stunned. The relationships that the characters portray having with each other is very realistic and common - even though their story is so strange. I'm not a new-ager, but I think that this movie definitely warrants a watch. Awesome job!! I wish they would put more out like this. Favorite part: when Ross gets his guitar and plays his heart out. Nothing like it!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Minnie Driver and her sister were two of the co-producers. It is set in California, a farm that looks like it could be near the wine country. Uncle Cullen (superb Nigel Hawthorne) and two brothers co-own the land and whatever else is on it. Uncle Cullen comes off as more than a bit eccentric, to the constant consternation of one of the brothers, Ross (played smartly by Rufus Sewell). The other brother communes with nature and seems content with going off into the woods to work on the garden.

    Ross's problem is that he never has been really successful at anything. Well, there was this one thing, apparently a very gifted musician playing the guitar and composing, but he wanted to be a business success, and needed cash to buy an old manganese mine, sure that it would be his big enterprise, and also allow him to win the hand of Kendal (Minnie Driver).

    As the story begins we see a Mr Tang, buying agent, and Ross examining each of the old bottles of rare wine in the cellar, Ross hoping to sell then for the thousands that will allow him to buy the mine. But, nothing goes as Ross plans.

    SPOILERS. One morning everyone wakes up to wine everywhere, even in the well water. Turns out that Uncle Cullen has opened each of the wine bottles and poured them out, in effect short-circuiting Ross' plan. The make matters worse, Uncle had delivered a very large while column in the yard, and the bill to Ross was over $126,000. When it was all done, however, it turns out Uncle Cullen was the smartest one, facilitating Ross' getting back to the guitar, the former champion diver to quit looking for perfection, and generally helping all to realize that it is best to live to your strengths and not try to become something you are not.
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