Ordinary Angels Blu-ray Review

4 Stars Change of pace for Alan Ritchson
Ordinary Angels Review

Lionsgate brings the faith-based drama Ordinary Angels to Blu-ray with a pleasing transfer and Dolby Atmos track.

Ordinary Angels (2024)
Released: 23 Feb 2024
Rated: PG
Runtime: 118 min
Director: Jon Gunn
Genre: Drama
Cast: Hilary Swank, Alan Ritchson, Emily Mitchell
Writer(s): Meg Tilly, Kelly Fremon Craig
Plot: Inspired by the incredible true story of a hairdresser who single-handedly rallies an entire community to help a widowed father save the life of his critically ill young daughter.
IMDB rating: 7.4
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Lionsgate
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: PG
Run Time: 1 Hr. 58 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy
Case Type: 2-disc Blu-ray eco-keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 04/30/2024
MSRP: $39.99

The Production: 3.5/5

Ed Schmitt (Alan Ritchson, Reacher) is near the end of his rope. Mourning the loss of his wife Theresa (Amy Acker), his five year old daughter Michelle (Emily Mitchell) has been diagnosed with a liver disease that requires a transplant sooner rather than later. To make matters worse, Ed is self-employed and doesn’t have any health insurance, owing more than $400,000 in medical and other various expenses. To try and help, his mother Barbara (Nancy Travis) has moved in to watch Ed’s two daughters when he’s out fixing roofs.

Sharon Stevens (Hillary Swank, Million Dollar Baby, The Hunt) is a hard-partying alcoholic hairdresser who sees Ed’s story in the local newspaper on morning while picking up another six-pack of beer. Touched by the story, she crashes Ed’s wife’s funeral, meeting his two daughters Michelle and the older Ashley (Skywalker Hughes). Ed politely asks Sharon to leave, but Sharon is even more touched by Ed and Michelle’s story, rallying a hairstyling marathon at the salon she shares with her best friend Rose (Tamala Jones, Castle), with all proceeds to go towards Michelle’s medical bills. Sharon manages to raise just over $3,000 and shows up at Ed’s front door to present him with the money. But Ed is a rather humble man, not wanting help from others and would rather keep his money troubles to himself. Barbara invites Sharon in for dinner, and a bond is made with Ed’s family. Sharon has some demons, though, attributed to her alcoholism, substituting her own problems with Ed’s, and becomes Ed’s financial advisor and fund raiser to try and get him out of debt and find a liver transplant for Michelle.

Although Ordinary Angels claims to be based on a true story, it does take some creative licenses here and there. For example, the major snowstorm keeping Ed from getting Michelle to the airport to fly to the closest children’s hospital capable of performing the transplant actually took place during the day, not in the pitch black of night. Also, director Jon Gunn (The Week, My Date With Drew) uses nearly every trick in the book to manipulate his audience, tugging at their heartstrings as the story unfolds. What really holds this film together, though, are its performances. First and foremost, this is a departure for Alaon Ritchson, having played mostly in action films, and gets to show his more vulnerable side as Ed. Hilary Swank is also a delight as Sharon, a real firecracker when she’s determined to help Ed but also very vulnerable when she succumbs to her addictions. The supporting cast I also excellent. Emily Mitchell and Skywalker Hughes are believable as two sisters, and Tamala Jones is terrific as the caring and tell it to you straight best friend. And for those afraid of the term “faith based,” Ordinary Angels never lays on the Bible or Christianity very thick, allowing it to sit under the surface without being in your face. It also has much higher production values than most “faith based” movies that show up on Prime Video and other streaming services.

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

Ordinary Angels was a digital production from start to finish, although very little is known as to what cameras were used, what resolution the raw footage was captured at, and if it was finished as a 2K or 4K digital intermediate. Lionsgate has released the film on Blu-ray with a nice 1080p AVC encode (a 4K digital is also available) that has been heavily processed with artificial film grain and leans heavily towards warm yellows. Fine detail is quite good, bringing out facial features and fabric textures. Contrast is also very good, with deep blacks featuring strong shadow details with minimal crushing.

Audio: 4/5

The default audio is a lossless Dolby Atmos track (with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core). This is a very subtle Atmos mix, with Atmos speakers used mostly to add some further immersion to what basically feels like a standard 5.1 or 7.1 mix. Surrounds are used where needed, and dialogue is clear and under throughout. Apparently, the Atmos mix is exclusive to the Blu-ray release, since the 4K digitals on both Apple TV and Fandango at Home are only Dolby 5.1.

Special Features: 3.5/5

Audio Commentary with Director Jon Gunn and Producers Kevin Downes and Jon Berg: Although at times it is difficult to figure out who is talking, this is a very engaging commentary track, with the three men discussing shooting in Winnipeg, working with the cast, finding the script, etc.

Making “Ordinary Angels” (1080p; 11:28): Fairly straightforward EPK behind the scenes look at the film, with some rather inspiring quotes from Alan Ritchson.

Inspiring the Ordinary (1080p; 5:16): Exploring the importance of faith.

Finding Your Purpose (1080p; 6:08): Focusing more on the character of Sharon and her struggles.

You Are Not Alone (1080p; 6:02): Exploring the theme of community.

Deleted Scenes (1080p; 7:19): Six scenes are included.

DVD Copy

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem an HD digital copy on Fandango at Home or a 4K digital copy on Apple TV.

Overall: 4/5

Ordinary Angels works as well as it does thanks to the fine performances from its cast, and for a “faith based” film, it never lays the religion too thick.

Todd Erwin has been a reviewer at Home Theater Forum since 2008. His love of movies began as a young child, first showing Super 8 movies in his backyard during the summer to friends and neighbors at age 10. He also received his first movie camera that year, a hand-crank Wollensak 8mm with three fixed lenses. In 1980, he graduated to "talkies" with his award-winning short The Ape-Man, followed by the cult favorite The Adventures of Terrific Man two years later. Other films include Myth or Fact: The Talbert Terror and Warren's Revenge (which is currently being restored). In addition to movie reviews, Todd has written many articles for Home Theater Forum centering mostly on streaming as well as an occasional hardware review, is the host of his own video podcast Streaming News & Views on YouTube and is a frequent guest on the Home Theater United podcast.

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