The Best of Me (2014)

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Released 4-Mar-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romance Audio Commentary-Director Michael Hoffman
Alternate Ending-“Tears of Joy” (18:33)
Music Video-"I Did" by Lady Antebellum
Trailer-x 3 for other Roadshow releases
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 112:59
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Michael Hoffman
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring James Marsden
Michelle Monaghan
Luke Bracey
Liana Liberato
Gerald McRaney
Sean Bridges


Case ?
RPI ? Music Aaron Zigman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The Best of Me is a film that operates in two time frames. Dawson (James Marsden) works on an offshore oil rig. Amanda (Michelle Monaghan) is a married woman with a son about to go to college. Independently both receive a call from an attorney to advise them that a man named Tuck Hostetler has died and named them in his will. It transpires that twenty-one years ago Dawson and Amanda had been very much in love and inseparable and that something had driven them apart. When they meet again it is clear that they are still in love with each other after all these years and they tentatively reconnect.

     The second time frame within the film is 1992, where we find out what had happened. Dawson (as a youth played by Luke Bracey) is from a white trash family but has aspirations to make something better of himself. He meets the wealthy Amanda (Liana Liberato) and the attraction is immediate and mutual for she relates to his genuine, down to earth qualities. When Dawson is abused by his red neck father Tommy (Sean Bridges) once too often, he flees and ends up in the garage of the recently widowed Tuck (Gerald McRaney) who takes Dawson under his wing. Love between Amanda and Dawson grows stronger every day supported by Tuck but opposed by Amanda’s father, who tries to buy Dawson off. But the real threat to their love comes from Dawson’s violent father and brothers, which leads to the tragic event that will separate the lovers for over two decades.

     The Best of Me is another film based upon a novel by Nicholas Sparks. Since Message in a Bottle (1999) I think about 9 of his novels have been made into films, the latest, which followed The Best of Me, being The Longest Ride (2015) while The Choice is already in post-production. Obviously there is an audience for Sparks adaptations and fans will know what to expect from The Best of Me; good looking people, scenic locations (this time Louisiana), a romantic score, tragedy, love, romance, love lost, hope, a kiss in the rain and a second chance, with a twist.

     The director of The Best of Me is Michael Hoffman, whose credits include One Fine Day (1996) and, more recently, the period drama, The Last Station (2009). He sensibly allows the camera to linger on the scenery, including beautiful sunsets, and the locations although I lost count of the times the camera, with the principals in a clinch and the music swelling, panned up to the top of trees or to the skies. The film is also unashamedly manipulative and the scenes with the younger selves are impossibly sweet and tender; it is thus hard to be in limbo waiting and waiting to find out what are the tragic events which tore them apart. And of course, after the adult Dawson and Amanda reaffirm their love for each other there is still another twist to come.

     The Best of Me is a well-made, contrived, bitter sweet romance, a beautiful looking film with attractive leads (although the actors who play the older and younger versions of Dawson and Amanda look nothing like each other) and stunning location photography. There were two endings filmed, the alternative ending being included as an extra on this DVD. The ending we have is certainly contrived, with a twist, but the alternative is both contrived in a different way and very soppy.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Best of Me is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, close to the 2.35:1 original theatrical ratio. The film is 16x9 enhanced.

     The print is sharp with good crisp detail in both close-ups and wider shots. Colours are glossy and bright showing the sunsets, landscape and trees of Louisiana to advantage, while the flowers in Tuck’s garden are a stunning bright red. Skin tones are fine, contrast and brightness consistent. Blacks are rock solid, shadow detail fine. There was occasionally aliasing and very slight ghosting with movement but otherwise artefacts were absent.

     English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available.

     The layer change at 72:59 created a slight pause during a scene change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps. There is also an English descriptive audio for the vision impaired by a female voice and an audio commentary, both Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps.

     This is a nice audio track. Dialogue was easy to understand and centred. The surrounds were mostly subtle and used for music and ambient sound, such as rain and thunder. Effects were more pronounced during the opening explosion and fire on the oil rig, while the gunshots were deep. The sub-woofer supported the score, the oil rig explosion and fire, the music and some weather effects, such as thunder.

    Lip synchronisation was fine.

     The original score by Aaron Zigman is swelling and so appropriate for this type of film and it was augmented by a range of popular music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailers (6:28)

     Trailers for St. Vincent, The Imitation Game and The One I Love play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

Audio Commentary

     Director Michael Hoffman says how fantastic everything was and says “I love this scene / acting / angle / shot” a lot but in between he provides an intelligent and informative commentary talking about his casting choices, colour palates, set and production design, changes in the scripting and editing, locations, the music, green screen shots, test audiences and reshoots. This turned out to be a better listen than I thought it was going to be, but I would have liked him to make some comment about the alternative ending (except for mentioning that it exists on the DVD), and why he decided to go with the one he did.

Music Video (3:19)

     I Did by Lady Antebellum.

Alternative Ending “Tears of Joy” (18:33)

     A recut of the last 10 minutes of the film including alternative scenes to provide a happy ending.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region A US Blu-ray of The Best of Me includes two versions of the film (the Theatrical and the Tears of Joy cuts), deleted scenes, interviews, a theatrical trailer as well as the commentary and music video. Our Region B Blu-ray has the same extras as the US except for the trailer but, like this DVD, includes the Tears of Joy ending as an extra. Given that only the last section is different, that is sufficient.

     In the US it seems that the DVD release contains the Tears of Joy version. I am unable to find a review of the Region 1 DVD so cannot say if it has extras. Our release at least gives you the chance to see both options!

Summary

     The Best of Me is another film adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Fans will know what to expect.

     The video is excellent and the audio fine. Extras are OK, although our Blu-ray release has more.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, April 17, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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