Hilary and Jackie (1998)

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Released 11-Feb-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 115:07
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (60:55) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Anand Tucker

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Emily Watson
Rachel Griffiths
James Frain
David Morrissey
Charles Dance
Celia Imrie
Rupert Penry-Jones
Bill Paterson
Auriol Evans
Keeley Flanders
Grace Chatto
Nyree Dawn Porter
Maggie McCarthy
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Ian Jones
Barrington Pheloung

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.20:1
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

     There is a rose called the Jacqueline Du Pré, named for the brilliant, troubled cellist who died in 1987 at the age of 45 after a battle with Multiple Sclerosis. That particular floral emblem seems particularly apt - at once delicate and fragile, and thorny and dangerous, it is an excellent metaphor for this complicated woman.

     Hilary & Jackie is a film made in 1998 starring Emily Watson as Jackie, and our own Australian Rachel Griffiths as her talented sister, Hilary. The screenplay was adapted from a book written by Hilary and her younger brother, Piers Du Pré, entitled, A Genius in the Family. By all accounts, the script remains faithful to the original text, directed by Anand Tucker, following the life and fortunes of the 2 sisters from childhood through to Jackie's death.

     In the first instance, Hilary was the more celebrated sister, exhibiting a far more even temperament from an early age. But Jackie's competitive spirit was ignited early, seeing her soar to ever more dizzying heights of success.

     While Hilary embraced love, marriage and family into her life, Jackie's existence became increasingly more exotic and more erratic. Her relationship with her cello was problematic - her love/hate relationship with it displaying the disparity between being talented at something and being passionate about it. Even when she is presented with a priceless Davidoff cello she exhibits disquieting ambivalence to it. Interestingly, this instrument she later bequeathed to Yo Yo Ma, continuing a wonderful tradition of the heritage of music.

     The film tracks the jealousies and joys between the sisters - and the extent of compromises Hilary had to endure to pacify her more mercurial sibling. The film won Oscar nominations for both Watson and Griffiths, and deservedly so. The extremities portrayed in the film could easily have descended into caricature, but each lead performance maintained a dignity and humanity that created a moving and enchanting cinematic experience.

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Transfer Quality


     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.20:1, 16x9 enhanced.

     There is some mild grain but there is no level noise. The brightness levels were consistently acceptable.

     The colour palette is superbly manipulated to full effect. The range is extremely broad, resulting in lovely, lush colours. Blacks are solid and whites are clean and crisp.

     Aliasing was frequently problematic in this transfer, and film to video artefacts were frequently present, particular dust spots and film change marks. Some compression problems lead to a somewhat one dimensional, flat look to the film.

     Subtitles were clean, prompt and accurate.

     This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 60:55. It is not at all disruptive to the film.

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


     There are two audio tracks on this DVD. The default is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There is also an English DTS 5.1 soundtrack which fairly jumps out of the speakers.

     Dialogue was distinct and clear throughout the presentation and audio sync was absolutely fine.

     The musical score by Barrington Pheloung was as superlative as one would expect in a film about classical music. Ambient pieces and original music cohabited supremely well - and the soundtrack could well be worth a purchase.

     The surround channels were very busy, providing ambience, music and a real sense of place. Directional effects and precise sound placement within the soundfield were the norm rather than the exception, putting you right in the midst of the film.

     The subwoofer was surprisingly active during the production, although it was never distracting.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     The menu design is silent and static.

Theatrical Trailer

     2:06 minutes long.

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:

     R4 is the go.


     A moving, non-sentimental and superbly presented story. It is unflinchingly candid and truly interesting. The time just seems to fly when watching this rather lovely film.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
SpeakersTeac 5.1 integrated system

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Jules F

Comments (Add)
R1 and UK R2 DVD Details (the R4 wipes the floor with them): -
R2 aspect ratio - Gary Couzens