Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
9 hrs ago
2 hrs ago
8 hrs ago
27 min ago
18 hrs ago
4 hrs ago
6 hrs ago
5 hrs ago
Birdee Pruitt seems to have it all. She's been married for years to her handsome highschool sweetheart, and has a brilliant and sensitive child. But when her picture perfect life comes crashing down around her - when her beloved husband dumps her on national tv - Birdee must start over. With no place else to turn, the former beauty queen, along with daughter Bernice, heads back home... to Smithville, Texas. There her life becomes even more complicated as she tries to deal with a mother she must get to really know for the first time, a daughter who desperately misses her father, and the prospect of a new romance. As Birdee undertakes her emotionally charged journey, she begins to find strength to reclaim her life, rediscover her family and return to something she had almost given up... hope.
For more about Hope Floats and the Hope Floats Blu-ray release, see Hope Floats Blu-ray Review published by Michael Reuben on July 30, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick, Jr., Gena Rowlands, Mae Whitman, Michael Paré, Cameron Finley
Director: Forest Whitaker
» See full cast & crew
Hope Floats Blu-ray Review
Film Sinks (but Fox Shows How to Treat Catalogue Titles Right -- Its Own)
Reviewed by Michael Reuben, July 30, 2011
Sandra Bullock tried many guises on her way to winning an Oscar (The Blind Side) and a Razzie (All About Steve) in the same year: comedienne, romantic foil, action lead, ghost story victim, even a historical figure (Infamous). In Hope Floats, she tried the traditional female weepie, and while the film performed reasonably well at the box office (propelled, no doubt, by the misleading ad campaign that stressed the tacked-on happy ending), it isn't a good movie. An effective weepie has to entice us inside the heroine's suffering and make us enjoy sharing it before ultimately offering some sort of cathartic release from the emotional pain. Bullock is likeable enough for the job, and the director (actor, and eventual Oscar winner himself, Forest Whitaker) had skillfully overseen the adaptation of Waiting to Exhale, which shared some of the same elements. But the script by Steven Rogers (P.S. I Love You) loses focus on the essential question that a good storyteller should always keep the audience asking: What Happens Next? Rogers doesn't extend his story beyond the outline that a writer would pitch in the briefest of meetings, and the bulk of the film is just embroidery, too little of which surprises or engages. Without a compelling narrative, a weepie becomes nothing more than a tiresome tale of misery. Despite beautiful images and heroic efforts by a supporting cast anchored by the great Gena Rowlands, Hope Floats never achieves buoyancy.
The former Birdie Calvert, now Pruitt (Bullock), was a big fish in her home town of Smithville, Texas. Cheerleader, prom queen, "Queen of Corn" for three years, she married the high school quarterback, Bill (Michael Paré), and moved with him to Chicago to begin the next phase of their charmed life. It began with a daughter, Bernice (Mae Whitman). But Birdie discovers she's one of those people whose life peaked in high school. Bill isn't the man she thought he was, and Birdie isn't special, at least not to Bill. As the film opens, their marriage ends -- on national TV. A Jerry Springer-like daytime show hosted by Toni Post (Kathy Najimy) invites Birdie for what is supposed to be a segment on makeovers, but instead puts her on a sofa with her husband and her best friend, Connie (Rosanna Arquette, in an uncredited cameo), where she learns, for the first time, that the two people she most trusts have been cheating on her for the last year. With her marriage over, Birdie bundles her daughter into their car and drives home to Smithville and Mama Ramona Calvert (Rowlands). That takes you past the title sequence, and you'd be pardoned for thinking the rest of the film will be about Birdie rebuilding her life. Certainly the elements are there. Mama Ramona is a defiantly upbeat individual who is determined to bulldoze her daughter into moving forward. Deaf to all protests, Ramona has no patience with wallowing in sorrow or indulging in anger, even at her miscreant son-in-law. "I like all of God's creatures", she says, reflecting on her hobby as a taxidermist. "I just like some of them better stuffed!" Then there's the new romantic prospect in the person of Justin Matisse (Harry Connick, Jr.). He's tall, handsome, good-natured, gentlemanly and a carpenter who's building his own well-appointed home. Justin has also been carrying a torch for Birdie since high school, which is the only possible explanation for the conspicuous lack of female attachment that, let's face it, not even a faintly eligible bachelor could have managed to sustain in a small town for all these years. Could he be more ideal? Little Bernice doesn't think so, which is why she instantly despises Justin. Like most children of divorce, all she wants is for her parents to reunite. But so utterly perfect is Justin that he just smiles indulgently . . . and understands. Still, the film turns out not to be about Birdie restarting her life, but about her being repeatedly confronted and humiliated by her failures. In the real world, this might be a necessary "bottoming out" stage in the rebirth of someone similarly situated, but it's neither a compelling story nor interesting cinema. By about the third or fourth time that Birdie runs into someone who tells her they saw her public mortification on The Toni Post Show, it's not funny; it's just a bore. Birdie mopes around the house in her pajamas until Mama Ramona bullies her out the door, but it turns out Birdie had every reason to fear going out, when she has to beg for a job from the head of a temp agency who still resents Birdie from high school and uses the opportunity for petty revenge. She revives an old passion for photography, only to have her skills wasted on a job running an automated processor of snapshots at a one-hour photo (a job that we all know digital cameras will shortly eliminate). She responds tentatively to Justin's advances, only to be reproached by her daughter for ruining any chance of a reconciliation with Bill (an imaginary prospect, but kids whose parents have split cling to such things). By the time Birdie is walking through the pouring rain to visit the father (James N. Harrell) who no longer recognizes her due to advanced Alzheimer's, you want to scream, "Enough, already!" The only actor who successfully exceeds the script's limitations is young Mae Whitman, whose Bernice Pruitt traces the complete arc of despair as the realization sets in that this is her new reality and endures the final crushing blow of discovering that her father isn't coming back. The impact of divorce on children has been depicted before, but rarely with such anguishing specificity. Whitman was already an experienced child actor, having played George Clooney's daughter in One Fine Day and the President's daughter in Independence Day. More recently, she made a memorable appearance, all grown up, in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. If there's any reason to see Hope Floats, it's Whitman's heart-rending embodiment of Bernice. She's the only character in the film who causes that lump in the throat that's the object of a successful weepie. The film should have been about her.
Hope Floats Blu-ray, Video Quality
Hope Floats was shot by Caleb Deschanel, one of the most stylish cinematographers working today. Deschanel's trademark look is rich and textured, especially in scenes of nature (his early work was with Carol Ballard), and Hope Floats is no exception. Even in the TV studio scenes, he resists the temptation to light harshly and crassly. Through Deschanel's lens, the people on The Toni Post Show look better than they ever would on TV. And when the film quickly reaches Texas, he's in his element. The 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray offers an excellent image with richly detailed surfaces, a lightly visible grain pattern, saturated colors and excellent detail. Blacks are genuinely black, and Smithville is the kind of setting where the nights are dark enough so that the image would visibly suffer without a true black. Nevertheless, shadow detail is well preserved in the kind of scenes where you need to be able to see what's happening, e.g., when Justin shows Birdie the house he's building and they go out back, where there's almost no light. Fox has used a BD-25, but the film is neither long nor action-packed, and there are no real extras; as a result, there are no compression-related issues (or, at least, none that I noticed).
Hope Floats Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The DTS 5.1 lossless track for Hope Floats is restrained but detailed, especially when Birdie returns home to Smithville. Little sounds of the countryside and small town life are layered into the sound mix and often float into the surrounds: birds chirping, wind blowing, trees rustling. Dialogue is clear and centered. The primary beneficiary of the track's fidelity is the musical score consisting of original underscoring by Dave Grusin and a fine assembly of moody tunes, some original and some covers, overseen by soundtrack producers Don Was and director Whitaker. Lyle Lovett's version of "Smile" and Sheryl Crow's "In Need" are particularly noteworthy. Indeed, as far as emotional authenticity is concerned, the soundtrack easily bests the film it accompanies.
Hope Floats Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Do my eyes deceive me, Fox? Could this be . . . a main menu? And bookmarking? Oh, wait, this is one of your own catalogue titles, not an MGM classic. So even though it's hardly a major title, you're providing the basic essentials of Blu-ray navigation instead of the cut-rate approach foisted off on purchasers of such classics as Midnight Cowboy, When Harry Met Sally . . . and Moonstruck. Gotcha.
Hope Floats Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I've been a fan of Bullock's ever since she stole Demolition Man right out from under both Sylvester Stallone and (even more incredibly) Wesley Snipes with a platinum dye job. I never minded her misfires, because I respect her determination not to be boxed in by typecasting (no easy task for a male actor, and much tougher for a woman). I think Gena Rowlands is an acting goddess and that Caleb Deschanel could shoot paint drying and make it look interesting. But none of that changes the fact that Hope Floats is a misfire and a downer to watch. The chief virtue of the Blu-ray is as Exhibit A in the case of Consumer vs. Fox Home Video on a charge of crimes against usability. Rent it if you must.
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to Hope Floats. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to Hope Floats in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
Hope Floats Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Romance Blu-ray Wave from Fox in January - October 19, 2010
An early announcement to retailers indicates that 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will release three romantic movies from its catalog on Blu-ray on January 4, 2011, in time for Valentine's Day: Ever After, starring Drew Barrymore and Dougray Scott; Hope Floats, ...
Hope Floats Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
Hope Floats Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to Hope Floats Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.