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Inventing The Abbotts

review by Tony Medina

Rated R

Studio: Fox

Running Time: 112 minutes

Starring Liv Tyler, Joaquin Phoenix, Billy Crudup, Jennifer Connelly

Directed by Pat O'Connor

Retail Price: $24.98

Features: Featurette, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Search

Have you ever heard the saying that says "You can't always get what you want?" Well, that may apply in certain circumstances but if you try some things, you can walk away fulfilled. This is the message I was left with after seeing "Inventing the Abbotts."

The film based in Midwest America in the 1950's centers on two working class brothers played to perfection by Joaquin Phoenix and Billy Crudup who take a liking to the wealthy Abbott Sisters portrayed by Joanna Going, Jennifer Connelly and Liv Tyler. The difference between getting what you want and how you go about getting it is evident when Doug (Joaquin Phoenix) builds a trustworthy relationship with the youngest Abbott Sister portrayed by Liv Tyler and Jacey portrayed by Billy Crudup has his eye on seducing the two other sisters.

As the film progresses, we see the Abbotts and Holts transform as time passes on. At the start of the film, we are given examples that later on set us for the progression of the characters through time.

As you are set to believe, Lloyd Abbott does not want anything to do with the Holt Brothers but to say that it is a result of working class vs upper class is an understatement. I will not give the real reason as to why this tension exists but as you watch the film you will see there are subplots that add more depth to the plot.

If there is one thing that can be said for this film, it is the same that can be said of life... Life has a way of sharing tragedies, creating catastrophes and building walls. As a result, we need to overcome these obstacles and learn from them instead of using them as excuses for what we don't want to see or hear.

I was impressed with the artwork on this film and the cinematography along with the sets remind me of an old fashioned love story that so many of us can relate to. Along with the narrator, we feel as though we are being told a bedtime story from one of our parents that actually lived that scenario.

The Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer of this film displays no flaws and has vibrant, lifelike color palates that look natural and inviting. Throughout the film, there are scenes with some softness which add effect for this time piece. All in all, the transfer is very pleasing to the eye and Fox has done another superb job with a pristine transfer.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 Mix does not make heavy use of surround sounds. Unlike action films, this is a dialogue film and most of the sound comes through the front channel speaker. The music which utilizes the remaining front speakers makes minimal but effective use of the rear channel speakers. The dialogue is incredibly crisp and clear and the music is balanced very well. The sound mix is pleasurable to the ear but, some creative use of surround would have been nice.

Other than a featurette and a theatrical trailer, we are not given much. It would have been nice to have seen some bloopers or excised scenes. A director's commentary from Pat O' Connor would have also been a nice touch throughout the film. For those of you without Dolby Digital Equipment, there are two sound mixes in Dolby Surround. One mix is in English and the other in French.

"Inventing the Abbotts" is a film that we all can relate to in one way or another. The film has good production values and is a nice way to spend a couple of hours. By the time you are through viewing the film and seeing what happens to the characters, you will walk away thinking at how close the Abbotts and the Holts are just like yourselves. The film has an old fashioned feel to it and is a nice change in the hustle and bustle of today's busy and different world. However, different as the world may be, "Inventing the Abbotts" still takes place no matter where we are.

(3.5/5 - NOT included in final score)




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