Postcards from the Edge (1990)

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Released 1-Aug-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Audio Commentary-Carrie Fisher (Screenwriter)
Trailer-As Good As It Gets; Jerry Maguire
Trailer-My Best Friend's Wedding; Kramer vs. Kramer
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 97:27
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:08) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Mike Nichols

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Meryl Streep
Shirley MacLaine
Dennis Quaid
Gene Hackman
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $24.95 Music Carly Simon

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French Audio Commentary
German Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, singing and dancing during credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    Postcards From the Edge tells the tale of a young woman's fight with drug abuse and her constant struggles to be understood by her mother. This movie is based on the autobiographical novel by Carrie Fisher - you know her: the gold bikini-clad Princess Leia from Star Wars. Anyway, moving away from the gold bikini, you may want to know just exactly what an autobiographical novel is. Well, in Carrie Fisher's own words, it is a novel that closely resembles a part of her life whilst not really resembling it at all. I guess you could say it is a work of faction (yes, I meant to type faction).

    Suzanne Vale (Meryl Streep) is an actor with a drug problem. She is not making any friends in the film industry because of her addiction and soon winds up in an emergency ward with a plastic tube down her throat. From here, rehab is the only option. We then follow Suzanne's roller-coaster recovery through family turmoil, heartbreak, and career quirks. Shirley MacLaine is Suzanne's ageing mother, wonderfully cast in the role of a glamorous movie (and musical) queen. Dennis Quaid, Richard Dreyfuss, and Gene Hackman all make appearances to round out an all-star cast.

    Postcards From the Edge is an interesting movie that is quite enjoyable. It shows how someone can put their life back together, even despite drug abuse and a dysfunctional family.

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

Transfer Quality


    This is a good transfer. There is nothing special here, but neither is there anything terrible either. The presentation is fairly consistent throughout.

    This transfer is presented in the 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    Sharpness is quite good throughout with only a few scenes being softened by grain. Very light grain is present throughout the movie. Unfortunately, a few scenes deteriorate further causing notable loss of detail (12:38). Shadow detail is never very good but remains serviceable for the majority of the transfer. A few notable examples of poor shadow detail can be found at 37:45 - 38:10 and 57:08.

    This transfer does not have any exceptional colour use. Colours remain relatively drab with nothing noteworthy. I am not sure whether this was an artistic choice or a fault of the transfer/source material. Colour levels remains consistent and skin tones are faithfully rendered. There are no instances of colour bleed.

    There are no notable MPEG artefacts in this transfer and aliasing is never present. There is a light spattering of film artefacts that are not distracting.

    I sampled the English subtitles and found them to be quite accurate. I cannot account for the other 25 subtitle streams.

    This disc is RSDL formatted with the layer change occurring at 57:08. It is well-placed at a scene change and is not disruptive. In fact, I missed it the first time around.

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


    The audio transfer on this disc is similar to the video transfer. Good but not great, it is all this movie needs as it is entirely dialogue-driven.

    There are six audio tracks on this disc. All are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded at 192kbps. Even the audio commentary track is surround-encoded

    Dialogue quality is fine throughout the feature with no discernible audio sync problems. This is a good thing as the movie is entirely reliant on the dialogue. I did not have any problems understanding what was being said.

    The musical score is well-suited to the movie. There are numerous musical performances by both Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine that are also suited to the movie and the characters.

    Surround presence was very close to non-existent and the subwoofer rarely received any redirected bass.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are a selection of extras on this disc, the most noteworthy being the audio commentary by Carrie Fisher. All theatrical trailers have French, German, Italian, Spanish and Dutch subtitles.


    Nicely themed 16x9 enhanced menu, but nothing to get excited about.

Audio Commentary

    This audio commentary by Carrie Fisher explains the book that this movie is based upon. Fisher talks at length throughout the movie but often repeats herself or loses her train of thought. The commentary is more interesting for an insight into Fisher's life then for any information about the movie itself. All-in-all, a reasonable effort but there are only so many times you can hear one person talk about drugs and how many times they have been in rehab.

Theatrical Trailer - As Good As It Gets

    Presented in the non-16x9-enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound at 192kbps. The video and audio quality are reasonable.

Theatrical Trailer - Jerry Maguire

    Presented in the Pan & Scan aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound at 192kbps. The video is a bit soft with limited shadow detail but the audio is fine.

Theatrical Trailer - My Best Friend's Wedding

    This is a good quality trailer, presented in the 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Interestingly, the audio is Dolby Digital 4.0 and also of high quality.

Theatrical Trailer - Kramer Vs Kramer

    Ugh - the best word to describe this trailer. 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound at 192kbps. Excessive grain, poor shadow detail, softness, and rampant film artefacts make this trailer almost unbearable.


    The usual fluff about the acting careers of all the well-known actors starring in the film.

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;     It would seem there is little difference between the two releases. I would prefer the PAL presentation but this is merely personal opinion.


    Postcards From The Edge was an enjoyable movie presented on a serviceable disc.

    The video quality is acceptable but could have been better.

    The audio quality is acceptable and all that the movie needed.

    The extras are reasonable.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Thursday, August 16, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayRCA 80cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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