The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2013
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 111 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2:35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel, James Frecheville, Sophie Lowe, Ben Mendelson
Directed by: Anne Fontaine
Written by: Christopher Hampton based on the book “The Grandmothers” by Doris Lessing
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 10, 2013
Set in an Australian seaside town of otherworldly beauty, Adore follows two women’s plunge in uncharted waters as they explore the intricacies of love, family, morality and passion.
Adore takes place in a close-knit seaside community where friendship, love and lust collide. In this sensual drama in which two lifelong friends find themselves entangled in passionate sexual relationships with each other’s sons. As they struggle to make sense of conflicting emotions and desires, the lines between family, friendship and morality are blurred. When powerful bonds reach their breaking point, discover what truly keeps us connected.
This film is described as “thought provoking” and I would say that is true but certainly not in the sense that is usually attributed to familial dramas. The story is about two women, friends since childhood, who grew up, married, and raised children in the same small town. Spending every day together they share an unusually close bond that has extended to their sons who have grown up much the same way. Lil (Watts) is widowed and Roz (Wright) seems to be going through the motions of a marriage but it clearly not devoted to her husband. The women also share an unusually close bond with their sons Ian and Tom. Close meaning that every waking moment that Lil & Roz don’t spend alone with one another is spent with Ian & Tom and vice versa.
The narrative begins with the women starting at childhood, then jumps to them in their married/adult lives with the boys as children and then settles with the boys now early twenty-something young men. The relationships continue to thrive feeding off of one another in a bizarrely unhealthy way. Eventually a line is crossed between Ian (Lil’s son) and Roz (Tom’s mother) which upon discovery by the other two segues into lustful, emotion releasing desire that meet the needs of the foursome via unrational, sexual and unchecked co-dependency that spirals out of control.
Based on the book “The Grandmothers” by Doris Lessing this is a decadent and unusual drama about misguided affections and provocatively released inhibitions. Delivered via a narrative with casual art house underpinnings it is a cautionary tale that asks the audience to dispense with propriety in favor of accepting its elements of romance, passion and the idea that sometimes things just happen. Difficulty with the subject matter aside this is an incomplete drama that fails to derive a solid connection between the characters and the thematic elements alluded to in the story’s central premise. I found myself drawn in by the smallness of its scope and the melodrama associated with the difficulties of forbidden affairs but had trouble seeing past the nature of the relationships and the credibility lacking in the idea that two eligible attractive young men would (A) not already have every young girl in their small town chasing after them and (B) would be so taken with one another’s mothers.
Of course that is to take nothing away from the wonderfully alluring Naomi Watts and Robin Wright who are both terrific as is the gorgeous and complimentary cinematography which also plays an integral part in the film. As the pot comes to a boil during the final act it gets a little silly and leaves us to make what we will of the ending. Ultimately I found Adore to be a compelling film that left me wanting.
The rating is for sexual content and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Adore comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 35 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.1 Mbps.
This audio/video presentation delivers very good overall quality. Images exhibits clean lines, crisp detail and warm flesh tones. It’s not razor sharp but never looked soft or dull. Colors look natural with ample saturation and vivid textures. Black levels are above average and shadow delineation reveals good visible detail in backgrounds during low light sequences and within dark areas of the picture. I would describe the video as being in the middle of the pack and perfectly acceptable for the format.
The lossless audio presentation was essentially the same in that it wasn’t exemplary but sounded just fine. Dialogue was well articulated with clear tonal distinction. Dynamic range is never really tested by the film’s elements however, the variety of sounds within the recording have ample depth. Surround activity is limited to light spatial dimension that occasionally broadens the soundfield and seamlessly bridges the space between the front and rear sound stages. This is a dialogue driven film that doesn’t require extensive use of the surround platform. In that regard it does a commendable job and sounds great.
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Based on the book “The Grandmothers” by Doris Lessing Adore is a decadent and unusual romantic melodrama about misguided affections, provocatively released inhibitions and the ramifications of forbidden affairs. Delivered via a narrative with casual art house underpinnings it is a cautionary tale that asks the audience to dispense with propriety in favor of accepting its socially challenging script that fails to derive a solid connection between the characters and the thematic elements alluded to in the story’s central premise. It comes to Blu-ray disc from Paramount Home Entertainment in this barebones release that features solid high definition audio/video and no bonus supplements. Shortcoming aside Adore has enough merit to warrant an rental from those that enjoy the sort of melodrama it employs.
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Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
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Ralph C. Potts
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