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DVD Review HTF REVIEW: We Don't Live Here Anymore. (1 Viewer)

Herb Kane

May 7, 2001

We Don’t Live Here Anymore

Studio: Warner Brothers (Warner Independent)
Year: 2004
Rated: R
Film Length: 99 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Enhanced Widescreen
Audio: DD 5.1
Color/B&W: Color
Languages: English & French
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
MSRP: $27.95
Package: Single disc/Keepcase

The Feature:
We Don’t Live Here Anymore is the next installment to be released by Warner Independent Pictures. The film boasts an all-star cast and recently captured the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. It is based on two stories by Andre Dubus, written by Larry Gross and directed by John Curran.

The film centers around two couples who are the best of friends. Jack Linden (played by Mark Ruffalo) is an English professor and the husband of Terry (played by Laura Dern), a housewife and mother of two whose maternal instincts are, at times, questionable. Jack’s best friend is Hank Evans (played by Peter Krause) also a professor and struggling writer who is married to Edith (played by Naomi Watts).

One night after an evening of partying, the couples run out of beer and Jack and Edith volunteer to go off and replenish their supply. It soon becomes clear that they are having an affair as they kiss and make arrangements for their next rendezvous. While Terry is suspicious of how close they have become, she is unaware of the magnitude of the relationship.

Hank is also interested in Terry and eventually they too get caught up in an adulterous affair. Jack is fairly comfortable that his indiscretions have so far, gone unnoticed but Terry, who is still in love with Jack, decides to fess up about her affair with Hank. Initially, Jack takes the news well, almost finding absolution with Terry’s confession, but the finer details are more than he can handle. In a manner of getting back at Terry, Jack proceeds to Edith’s house where they both engage in an afternoon tryst while Hank is still upstairs asleep.

The affairs work for each of the individuals for varying reasons. In the case of Jack and Terry, they still truly love each other, but after years of marriage, their relationship has lost much of its luster. Jack resents Terry for her inability to be a competent housewife and a responsible mother. Terry is willing to put up with Jack’s infidelity due to her undivided love but copes with the assistance of alcohol. Hank on the other hand, has had numerous extra marital affairs and it would appear that his love for Edith isn’t very deep. Edith has sensed this for some time and has been reaching out for love, thinking she has found it in Jack.

The story, which is rather simple in nature, is told in a very stylish manner with a number of flashbacks highlighting various get-togethers and meeting places. The performances from the four main stars are outstanding, all of them offering a heart-wrenching and introspective look at their own paths of self-destruction. The mood of the entire film is a rather idealistic but gloomy one, accompanied by a very poignant stringed score.

We Don’t Live Here Anymore comes on a single disc housed in a Keepcase without an insert. The disc starts with two theatrical trailers, one for The Aviator and the other, an HBO film, Maria Full Of Grace. As for the trailers, the former looks terrific, while the latter looks to be in rather poor shape.

The Feature: 3.5/5

This is a really pretty film to look at. Shot in 2.35:1 in beautiful British Columbia, there are a number of breathtaking outdoor shots and this transfer does justice to all of them.

Colors were natural and vivid with hues and saturation levels that looked perfect. Skin colors also looked very real and accurate. Blacks were deep and whites were clean and never blooming.

There was a very pleasing level of image definition which looked incredibly sharp and defined throughout most of the film. There were moments of softness, but I can’t imagine those being transfer related. Although I hadn’t seen this film before, the image, at times, had a slightly glassy look it – not bothersome per se, just an observation.

There was virtually no grain to speak of, yet there was a pleasing amount of depth and dimension to the overall image. The print was immaculate and free of any dust or dust as well as scratches or blemishes, not really a surprise considering its age.

The image appeared to be rock solid and was free of any shimmer or jitter and compression seems to have been handled perfectly. There were a few instances when I may have noticed a slight – very slight amount of edge enhancement, but admittedly it was so slight it may have been contrast related.

Super job WB.

Video: 4.5/5

The disc comes with a DD 5.1 English track as well as a 5.1 French dubbed track.

The track is perfectly clean and free of any hiss, noise or other distractions. Most of the film is dialogue driven which comes across exceptionally bold and intelligible, always sounding quite natural.

Much of the film is accompanied by a beautiful (cello) score which is perfectly adept at evoking the appropriate emotion. The soundstage itself is exceptionally wide and airy lending perfectly to the stringed score. There is also a very significant sense of separation present throughout the film. While much of it is harnessed up front, the use of the L & R channels is very apparent. Very nice indeed.

Although encoded as 5.1, there is very little happening in the rears, save for some slight music filler and a few ambient sounds and LFE is virtually non-existent.

Not a flashy track, but this does what needs to be done quite capably.

Audio: 4/5

Special Features:
There is very little to discuss in terms of special features on this disc.
[*] First up is the Theatrical Trailer which is in great shape. Duration: 2:29 minutes.
[*] The only other feature is entitled Recommendations which is nothing more than two other trailers for other WB Independent films, A Home AT The End Of The World and Before Sunset. Each of the trailers runs 2:15 minutes.

Special Features: 1.5/5

**Special Features rated for the quality of supplements, not the quantity**

Final Thoughts:
I really enjoyed the style of this film and the manner in which it unfolded. I felt the flashback sequences were quite effective and the score was exceptional. The performances were tremendously evocative and real. My problem with the film was the “hey, c’mon in for a drink and let’s talk about this”, attitude as the details surrounding the infidelities became apparent. The detail and specificity of such affairs are the things suicides and homicides are made of and to dismiss the enormity of the events in such a cordial non-chalant manner, for me at least, just wasn’t believable.

The presentation is terrific and the performances are outstanding although the disc is basically void of any supplemental features save for a few theatrical trailers. It’s a difficult disc to recommend in terms of a purchase. Yet, in a way I find difficult to put into words, I’m glad I own it. Perhaps in my case, I enjoyed the style of the film more than the film itself. However, if you’re unsure, a rental should serve your needs quite well.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5 (not an average)

Release Date: December 14th, 2004

Bob Cashill

Senior HTF Member
Aug 15, 2001
Real Name
Robert Cashill
Thorough review of an excellent, completely overlooked summer sleeper, with a smashing Laura Dern performance. One note: MARIA FULL OF GRACE is equally outstanding in its way.

Herb Kane

May 7, 2001

Bob, I'm looking forward to this one. Actually my comment in the review relates to the quality of the trailer itself, not the film. Perhaps I should change my wording.

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