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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz

 

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Then She Found Me [Blu-ray]

 

(Helen Hunt, 2007)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Leonard Norwitz

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Odyssey Entertainment, ThinkFilm & Killer films

Blu-ray: Image Entertainment

 

Disc:

Region: A

Runtime: 100 min

Chapters: 16

Size: 25 GB

Case: Locking Amaray Blu-ray case with Slipcover

Release date: September 9, 2008

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: AVC

 

Audio:

English DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio; English DD 5.1 Surround

 

Subtitles:

English SDH & Spanish (feature film only)

 

Extras:

• Audio commentary by Director Helen Hunt

• Behind the Scenes (11:44)

• Cast Interviews

• Theatrical Trailer

 

 

 

The Film:

For such a small movie, it is curious to find 13 producers, among them: Helen Hunt, who also gets two (count them) writing credits for adapting the original novel by Elinor Lipman. Lipman's novel first appeared around 1991 and was quickly optioned. Hunt says she had been trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to bring it to cinematic reality for ten years. For all her trouble, I would have thought there would be more to show for it. It's not that there is anything wrong with the movie or its adaptation from the book. I think the worst that can be said about it is that it comes off calculated while it wants to seem natural and spontaneous.

Helen Hunt not only shares writing and producing credit, but she also directs and stars in this story about a "39 1/2" year old childless schoolteacher who all too desperately wants a baby of my own. Adoption is out of the question. We meet her character, April, on the day of her wedding to Ben (Matthew Broderick), a nice Jewish boy, with all that that implies. A couple years later, and still no baby. And no Ben either. Within minutes of their separation, it seems, she encounters Frank (Colin Firth), a divorced father of one of her young students, and mistakenly (the one unconvincing misstep in the script, I thought) attacks him for coming on to her.

Hunt has assembled a fine cast here whom I felt were better directed than she was of herself – which really means that I felt their performances less mannered. For some years since her fine work in "Mad About You" Hunt has relied on certain facial expressions and affected postures that have the potential of generating an entire school of acting. What I once found sweet, honest and sincere I now find calculating and a little lazy. Hunt does come alive when she gets good and angry, but otherwise, we've seen all this before, and before that.

I suppose something of the same could be said of Midler, who hovers just this side of schtick – then again, her character is a well-known daytime TV host, a la Oprah. Colin Firth is his usual reliable self-effacing self on the outside, arrogant on the inside – or is it the other way round. In any case, the writing for his character can't be beat with a stick. Frank is likeable and honorable, and he sets limits on himself and April like nobody's business.

Matthew Broderick – and I admit I can't believe I'm saying this – steals the movie at every moment he's in it – partly because I hardly recognize this actor in this part and partly because his character is so damaged and yet so familiar. Ben is every dumb guy who thinks he should, but can't – and when he does, he only does it in spurts. Ben is as adorable as he is unreliable.

The "she" in the title refers to Midler's character, Bernice, who arrives out of the blue to announce to April that she is her natural mother (April always knew she was adopted, but knew nothing of her bio-parents), and immediately sets about trying to become a part of her life. It's not as invasive on Bernice's part as I make it seem. She is actually a better mother now than she could ever have been before. Really, the actor in all this is April – and for obvious reasons having to do with her own inability to have a child of her own and unwillingness to adopt.

The script could have gone either way – comedy or melodrama – I felt it did a good job of living in both worlds.

 


 

Image: 3/6
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVDs, including SD 480i.

This is certainly not one of those titles you buy for the purpose of showing off how wisely spent was your money. I've definitely seen sharper images, with more contrast and, so it seemed, greater resolution, on any number of 480i DVDs. Let's leave it at that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music: 6/8
I liked the music, mostly played on guitar David Mansfield. The music for Smart People was similar in tone, but I felt more appropriate and more subtly used here. The audio mix, as would be expected for such a movie, makes little if any use of surrounds, while the DTS HD 5.1 helps clarify the dialogue – a good thing where the word is king.

 

 

 

Operations: 5
Chapter thumbnails do not expand and are not titled. There is a lengthy montage that has no bearing on the menu selections that hovers above it.

 

Extras: 5
In her commentary and in the separate behind-the-scenes piece Helen Hunt lets us in on her personal odyssey about being able to bring this very personal project to reality.

 

 

Bottom line: 7
A slight, but decent movie in less than stellar HD. An excellent choice for a rental.

Leonard Norwitz
August 30th, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 





 

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