Plot: What’s it about?
Alex (Jane Fonda) used to be a popular actress, but now she drowns her life in alcohol and has been in a downward spiral. When she wakes up one morning with a man she doesn’t know next to her in bed, the feeling isn’t a new one. She has indulged her sexual desires with strangers before, thanks in no small part to immense amounts of alcohol. But this is not the kind of morning where an awkward exit is the biggest concern, as Alex soon notices a knife has been plunged into the man’s heart. She quickly realizes her story of ignorance about the murder will be a hard sell to the police, so she tries to remove any evidence of her presence and makes a run. In a panic, she forges a bond of sorts with a washed up former police officer (Jeff Bridges). His life is much different than hers, but she needs someone she can fall back on and for now, he fits that description. As time passes, the two grow closer, but will the truth about the murder ever be uncovered?
I’ve heard a lot of stories, fictional and otherwise about waking up next up to people no one remembers, but none of those stories involved corpses. The Morning After not only involves a corpse, it also has alcoholism and Jane Fonda. In fact, Fonda picked up an Oscar nomination for her work here, which is quite good, though not up to her best work. The premise here is excellent and as the film starts, the makings of a top notch thriller seem to unfold, but that is not the case. I did find the characters to be well crafted however, so while the plot can be quite mediocre, the characters keep the film afloat. But you can’t stick characters, even good ones into a subpar plot and just expect the dots to be connected. Even so, the movie works well at times thanks to the characters, performance, and direction. So if you’re a fan of thrillers, The Morning After is worth a look, but rental is the best option, as this isn’t one that holds up to repeat viewings.
Video: How does it look?
The Morning After is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This visual presentation is better than average, but this movie deserves much better. The colors are slightly muted, but this is somewhat due to the intentional muting for desired visual effect. Flesh tones are natural, and contrast looks sharp as well. I didn’t see any compression errors either. So not the kind of transfer you’ll rave about, but the movie looks good and that should please fans.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc uses the original mono track, but don’t worry as this film never calls for any type of power based audio. As such, the front channels handle it all and never falter in the least. I found no age related issues with the music, as it was always clear and crisp. The sound effects are mostly natural, more subtle noises, so not much atmosphere is lost in this case. The dialogue is the main audio focus and it comes through well, no clarity issues at all. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
An audio commentary track is found here, in which director Sidney Lumet talks about the production. I have heard Lumet on commentary before and while not remarkable, his tracks are worth a listen. If you like the movie, that is. He talks a lot about the cast here, especially the leads and gives a little technical insight, but not enough in regard to the plot’s deficiencies. This disc also includes the film’s theatrical trailer.