By James Davidson
“Uncorked” is a Netflix original movie that was released in March of 2020. The film follows Elijah (played by Mamoudou Athie), a young man whose dream is to become a master sommelier, or expert in wine. Elijah begins going to sommelier school in order to be able to take the Master Sommelier exam. Elijah’s father, Louis (played by Courtney B. Vance), isn’t exactly thrilled that his son is going to school to be a wine expert. He thinks that this is just a phase that Elijah is going through and would prefer him to focus on taking over the family BBQ restaurant. Elijah must balance his passion and schooling for wine with his job at the family restaurant and his precarious relationship with his father. To make matters worse, the family finds out that Elijah’s mother, Sylvia (played by Niecy Nash) has been diagnosed with cancer, adding another complication to the family struggles.
I thought that this was an interesting, original plot for a movie. I’ve never seen a movie about a master sommelier before and I was interested to see how the filmmakers would execute the story. I thought that the challenge for this movie would be to make the story relatable and interesting, if you don’t know much about wine, like me, watching a movie about someone who is going to school to learn about wine might get a little dull. This movie manages to take something that not many people know a lot about, and make it engrossing, for the most part.
I found the plot itself to be very interesting, and mostly relatable. Most people can relate to having interests that their parents don’t understand and that causing some sort of strain in the relationship. In that aspect, I think that the writers did an excellent job at making the story, and characters, interesting.
I really thought that the acting helped bring the characters to another level. Most of the actors in this movie are very well respected and well known, and definitely lived up to the expectation. The few that I wasn’t as familiar with really impressed me as well. All of the acting really brought the characters to life on the screen and made the characters that much more empathetic. I really felt that the acting complemented the writing very well, and the actors did an amazing job at portraying the emotions that this movie demanded.
The one big issue I had with this film was that the movie really missed an opportunity to educate more people about wine. A majority of the movie takes place at a sommelier school, and a lot of the dialogue is about wine tasting and it was very easy to get lost if you are not familiar with wine. I did find myself tuning a few parts out because the characters began some very technical discussions about wine that really went over my head. I wish the movie had done a little better job at educating me a little bit about wine tasting, if nothing else just so that I could follow some of the conversations better.
This movie is rated TV-MA and is for mature audiences only. It has some strong language and some adult, sexual situations that make it inappropriate for families with younger children.
“Uncorked” is an interesting, original idea for a movie and is executed very well. The filmmakers took a challenging subject to make interesting and transformed it into a very engrossing, emotionally touching film about family and relationships. It can get a bit dry in places, especially when they start getting technical about wine, and it can be easy to get lost in the technical wine jargon. I think the filmmakers missed an opportunity to educate their audience, but it is still a very interesting movie. I would watch this movie again, it was a pleasant way to spend an evening with my wife. This movie earns 4 out of 5 stars.