I was working late last night, flipping through the channels and the film Sideways (2004) came on. I haven’t seen Alexander Payne’s film on life, wine, and legacy since it was in the theaters over 10 years ago. It’s a pretty solid film that still holds up today.
One of the great speeches for a female character in the 2000s is Maya’s speech on wine. I’ll assume many actresses have performed this speech when they have to prepare a monologue for an audition. It’s terrific:
…I like to think about the life of wine…How it’s a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it’s an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now.
I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I’d opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your ’61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline…And it tastes so f*****g good.
Or watch it here:
She’s basically talking about people and life in general. Miles (Paul Giammati) needs to hear this because he’s almost ready to pack it in and stop the growing because it’s all too painful for him. We’re here to evolve and sometimes it gets better and sometimes it gets worse. Some of us are an amazing wine as most of us are perhaps the $10 bottle we can buy at the supermarket. Or perhaps we are all the same and nobody really can taste the difference.
It’s about passion. I know nothing about wine at all, but I’m always fascinated to hear people describe their passions. We are here to love and that’s what Maya’s speech is about. And Giammati’s performance reacting to the monologue is just as good as the monologue performance itself.