Anywhere But Here (1999)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 20-Jan-2003

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 109:12
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (64:38) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Wayne Wang

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Susan Sarandon
Natalie Portman
Case ?
RPI $31.95 Music Danny Elfman
Lisa Loeb
Diane Warren

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.0 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Croatian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    From the director who brought us The Joy Luck Club (Wayne Wang) comes another film about a mother-daughter relationship. Anywhere But Here stars Susan Sarandon as Adele August and Natalie Portman (fresh from Star Wars The Phantom Menace) as the daughter Ann.

    Adele is frustrated by the small town life in Bay City, Wisconsin and escapes to Beverly Hills, California, in a second-hand Mercedes accompanied by her very unwilling and pensive daughter. Ann does not want to leave her family and friends behind, and can barely stand her mother, who is flaky, irresponsible and crass, although she means well.

    Both mother and daughter tries to start a new life in California - finding a place to stay, going to school, finding a job, getting involved with men (willingly and unwillingly). Along the way, they find themselves in a love-hate relationship with each other and gradually realise they need each other even though they find each other frustrating.

    I think this film has a number of good points and well crafted scenes, but overall I found it a bit slow. Certainly it did not grab my attention and focus as The Joy Luck Club, but still this is worth watching.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    I was somewhat surprised to discover that this film is in Scope (2.35:1 aspect ratio) based on a Super 35 print. Fortunately, the transfer is in the intended aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Overall, this is an above average transfer, looking a bit on the soft side but with reasonable detail levels. Likewise, colours are slightly under-saturated, but nothing to complain about.

    I did not see any objectionable instances of grain, and the film source is fairly clean with hardly any marks at all.

    Given that the two hour film is spread over two layers, there are no instances of compression artefacts.

    There are a number of European languages subtitle tracks on this disc. I sampled the "English for the Hearing Impaired" track. This did not seem like much of a "hearing impaired" track to me, since the bits that I sampled didn't contain dialogue attribution nor transcriptions of non-dialogue sounds.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change is at 64:38, and is well placed, for it occurs during a natural pause with no background audio.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There is only one audio track on the disc: English Dolby Digital 5.0 (384kb/s).

    This is a very dialogue focused film, and might as well have been in mono for most of the sound is coming from front centre. I had difficulty noticing front stereo pans, let alone rear channel activity.

    The sound track is slightly crackly, almost as if the dialogue is on the verge of distortion due to clipping, which is surprising since the audio track is not recorded at a high level. On one occasion near the beginning of the film (2:47) I did experience over-clipping distortion in the dialogue. I did not notice any audio synchronization issues.

    The background music is not memorable and features original music by Danny Elfman.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Extras are pretty minimal and limited to a trailer and a very short promotional featurette.


    The menus are 16x9 enhanced but static.

Theatrical Trailer (2:23)

    This is presented in 1.85:1 with 16x9 enhancement and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kb/s).

Featurette (5:26)

    This is a short promotional featurette that has excerpts from the film, and short interviews with:

    It is presented in full screen. Film excerpts are presented in 1.85:1 without 16x9 enhancement. The audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kb/s).

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

    The two versions are similar, apart from audio and subtitle tracks.


    Anywhere But Here is a drama about a mother and daughter relocating from Bay City, Wisconsin to Beverly Hills, California and learning to live with and tolerate each other.

    The video quality is above average.

    The audio quality seems to be on the verge of clipping distortion.

    Extras are minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Tuesday, January 07, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDCustom HTPC (Asus A7N266-VM, Athlon XP 1800+, 512MB, Pioneer DVD-103S, WinXP, PowerDVD 4.0 XP), using RGB output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

Other Reviews
MovieHole - Clint M
The DVD Bits - Chris A
DVD Net - Michael C - Daniel R

Comments (Add) NONE