Check out our review of this wonderfully crafted four-part HBO miniseries that tells the story of a seemingly placid New England town wrought with illicit affairs, crime and tragedy, as told through the lens of Olive Kitteridge, whose wicked wit and harsh demeanor mask a warm but troubled heart.
Studio and Year:
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
HBO - 2014
Feature running time:
English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, John Gallagher Jr, Bill Murray, Rosemarie DeWitt, Zoe Kazan
Jane Anderson based on the novel by Elizabeth Strout
Blu-ray Disc release Date:
February 10, 2015
"There’s no such thing as a simple life"
Headlined by an all-star cast including Academy Award winner Frances McDormand, Academy Award nominee Richard Jenkins and Golden Globe winner Bill Murray, the mini-series is based on Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. Olive Kitteridge
tells the poignantly sweet, acerbically funny and devastatingly tragic story of a seemingly placid New England town wrought with illicit affairs, crime and tragedy, told through the lens of Olive(McDormand), whose wicked wit and harsh demeanor mask a warm but troubled heart and staunch moral center. The story, which spans 25 years, focuses on her relationships with her husband, Henry (Jenkins), the good-hearted and kindly town pharmacist; their son, Christopher (John Gallagher, Jr.), who resents his mother's approach to parenting; and other members of their community.
HBO continually provides quality programming and this mini-series is another example of that commitment. This four part story is a character study that revolves around Olive, a straight talker, living in a world that provides little happiness for her. She is complex with a hardened edge and soft underbelly that is rarely exposed. We see her through the eyes of those around her and are only given glimpses of her true perception of the world. Predominantly what we see of Olive is her disdain for weakness and apparent lack of an emotional connection to her husband Henry, an affable nebbish, who absorbs her spiteful and below the belt rhetoric on a daily basis.
The series opens at a critical point in Olive’s life and then flashes back 25 years earlier spending the following installments to bring us back to that point. Along the way is a carefully woven tale that depicts a life spent in the doldrums of unhappiness fraught with an inability to see beyond one’s perspective. At times inexcusably stern, at others remarkably patient but moreover sadly in denial, Olive’s irrational sensitivities leave her alone with no common ground even among her loved ones. It’s not until the last leaf from the tree of her life is about to fall does she open her eyes to the truth.
Magnificent. Olive Kitteridge
is an engaging piece that speaks to the human condition through its superlative characters and level of emotion. Darkly wry, the situational formula is a blend of familial dysfunction and marvelous interplay that is stirring, poignant and genre bending. The cast, beginning with Frances Mcdormand’s SAG Award winning performance is terrific. I watched this with my wife and we found ourselves immersed in the film. From the beginning right to the spot on ending Olive Kitteridge
has depth and an emotional center that pulls you into its world. Oddly enough after it was over I found myself with the desire to watch it again. The narrative is dense and full of wonderfully played moments that would bear fruit during a second or even a third viewing.
The supporting cast features Bill Murray as Jack Kennison, a widower befriended by Olive; Peter Mullan as Jim O'Casey, a fellow teacher at Olive's school; Rosemarie DeWitt as Rachel Coulson, a shut-in who is one of Henry's customers at the pharmacy; and Zoe Kazan as Denise Thibodeau, who works at the pharmacy.
I can’t say enough about [i]Olive Kitteridge] except that you simply have to see it.
The series contains thematic material, 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)
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
- DSU Rating * (non-rated element):
Olive Kitteridge comes to Blu-ray Disc from HBO Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio Sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
This video presentation delivered satisfactory overall quality that included appreciable refinement and subtle degrees of delineation that resulted in a gratifying high definition viewing experience. Colors and fleshtones appear natural with ample saturation and vivid textures. Black levels are respectable and depth of field/delineation during low light sequences is rarely a problem. I didn’t detect any noteworthy anomalies or artifacts.
The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack is surprisingly good and offers excellent lossless sound quality. Dialogue is rendered with clear intonation and deep room penetration through the center channel speaker. The front soundstage is nicely diffused with excellent separation and clearly articulated detail. The soundtrack doesn’t contain extensive use of discrete surround activity but there are moments that make great use of the platform via head turning off camera cues and involving spatial dimension/ambience through the rear channels. Bass response isn’t room shaking however it appropriately supported the source elements. I was pleasantly surprised and felt that this audio mix elevated the experience of watching the program.
- There are no bonus features
Based on Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name Olive Kitteridge
is a superbly crafted four-part drama that engages from beginning to end. It comes to Blu-ray from HBO Home Entertainment excellent high definition audio/video that compliments the film quite nicely.
I can’t recommend Olive Kitteridge
enough and hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
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