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Love is Strange (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

After Ben and George get married, George is fired from his teaching post, forcing them to stay with friends separately while they sell their place and look for cheaper housing -- a situation that weighs heavily on all involved.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: Sony Classic Pictures - 2014
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 95 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Starring: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, Darren Burrows, Charlie Tahan, Cheyenne Jackson
Directed by: Ira Sachs
Written by: Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 13, 2015

"Love is patient. Love is kind…"

My Take:

After nearly four decades together, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) finally tie the knot. But when George loses his job, the couple must sell their apartment and temporarily live apart until they can find an affordable new home. George moves in with two friends (Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez) while Ben ends up across town with his nephew (Darren Burrows), his wife (Marisa Tomei) and their teenage son with whom Ben shares a bunk bed. While struggling with the pain of separation, Ben and George are further challenged by the intergenerational tensions and capricious family dynamics of their new living arrangements. Love Is Strange depicts the delicate nature of two people building a long life together and their love growing deeper and richer with time.

Love is strange is a moody drama that serves as an expose for the bittersweet ambience of commitment amidst the challenges of life and family. Told from a very personal perspective the film is clearly derived from the heart of director/co-writer Ira Sachs and effectively captures the intended essence of his context as seen through the relationships depicted in the story. Meant to draw upon the subtleness of small moments rather than the escalating scale leading up to tear jerking melodrama the script delivers an engagingly effective snapshot of two people whose love is quintessential. Highlighted by the performances of leads Lithgow and Molina Love is strange reaches the audience on an emotional level via a universal theme bound by love, family and the comingling of life’s difficulties that can impact them.

Love is strange moves at its own pace, marching to a less than traditional genre beat which may put some viewers off but those willing to grasp the endearing warmth of its story are in for a treat.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for 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.**

Audio: 80
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
  • DSU Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

Love is strange comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Classic Pictures featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.6 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.

Bonus Features:
  • Audio commentary with John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, & Ira Sachs
  • (HD) LA Film Fest Q&A John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Cheyenne Jackson & Ira Sachs – 25 minutes
  • (HD) What is love: Making of Love is strange – 23 minute featurette

Final Thoughts:

Love is strange is a moody and wonderfully told drama that serves as an expose for the bittersweet ambience of commitment amidst the challenges of life and family. It comes to Blu-ray from Sony Classic Pictures featuring gratifying high definition audio/video and a serviceable supplemental package that offers lots of insights from the cast/crew. When you’re in the mood for something that stirs the emotions and warms the heart Love is strange is just the ticket.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7702 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Ralph C. Potts
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