Melinda and Melinda

January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

As two friends share a dinner, they debate whether life is comic or tragic, as both are writers and each has a strong opinion on the issue. A story soon becomes told, but as each man tells the story, he uses a different tone, one comic, one tragic. The common thread between the two is a woman named Melinda (Radha Mitchell), who interrupts the lives of a couple, with very different results. The comic tale follows Melinda as she enters the lives of her upstairs neighbor Hobie (Will Ferrell), an out of work actor and his filmmaker wife (Amanda Peet). The more dramatic of the stories centers on Melinda again, this time she is a college friend of the now wealthy Laurel (Chloe Sevigny), whose husband Lee (Jonny Lee Miller) is an alocholic actor. The theme of the stories is the same, as Melinda is involved in infidelity. But the different tones cause immense differences in the consequences, leaving us to decide whether the world is comic or tragic.

The films of Woody Allen are often a blend of humor and drama, but in Melinda and Melinda, he takes that concept to a new level. In this case, the same story is told to the audience twice, with two different casts in place, except for lead Radha Mitchell. I’ve read reviews that call this a bold approach and I agree to an extent, but I also think it is a calculated risk. The fans of Allen are more open minded in terms of cinema and as such, would be more open to this kind of unique approach. Even so, I commend Allen for going outside the box as a director, since that is done so rarely. I found Melinda and Melinda to be one of Allen’s best films in a long while, as makes you laugh and the dramatic elements are effective. Will Ferrell is hilarious in a role that Allen would normally play, while Mitchell is terrific and really shines at times. I think Melinda and Melinda is just a great movie and while the disc is Allen’s usual barebones treatment, the movie is the real draw. Even if you’re not usually a fan of Allen’s movies, Melinda and Melinda is well worth a rental.

Video: How does it look?

Melinda and Melinda is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a full frame version also included on the disc’s flip side. This is a solid visual effort on all fronts aside from a bit of softness, but never too much softness. The colors come through in fine form, with bright hues and of course, natural flesh tones. I saw no errors with the contrast either, as black levels looked right on and never murky in the least, not even for a second. I did some small flaws here, but on the whole, this is a more than solid visual presentation.

Audio: How does it sound?

As per Allen’s wishes, the audio is presented via a mono track and for what it is, the track is quite effective. I know a lot of people complain about Allen’s use of mono, but he is an artist and as such, his wishes & intent should be what matters. The jazz score comes through with a clean, natural sound, while dialogue is sharp and easy to understand too, no complaints to make here, if you ask me.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes no bonus materials.

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