Adore (Blu-ray Review)

To be honest with you all, I’m not really sure what I was expecting here.  I really wanted something juicy, gross and full of controversy and taboo.  However, I’m not quite sure I received quite everything on my wish list.  Make no mistake about it, things that happen in this film are completely wrong, gross and twisted in my opinion, but it wasn’t as controversial as I thought it would be.  With a couple flash forwards, Adore plays out like a straight forward narrative that’s very reminiscent of my time spent with the feature Brokeback Mountain (see that review here) years ago.  I have always been a big Naomi Watts fan ever since Muholland Drive (I can’t wait for that to come out on Blu-ray), but other than that I was just along for the ride here with Paramount’s newest Blu-ray release.  So what say you?   Mirror, mirror on the wall.   Who do you “adore” most of all?

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Adore is based on the novel by British writer Doris Lessing called The Grandmothers.   In hindsight, after watching this film, I honestly feel that’s what this feature should have been appropriately titled, but I digress.  I was surprised to find out that this Australian-French drama actually has quite of numbers of names it has gone by.  It has also been known as Two Mothers, Perfect Mothers and even Adoration.  It premiered at Sundance Film Festival this year under the former of those names.

Adore is directed by Anne Fontaine, which marks her first English-language one.  In addition to the damsel in distress Naomi Watts the casts boasts the likes of Robin Wright, Ben Mendelson, Xavier Samuel, James Frecheville, Sophie Lowe and Jessica Tovey.  In addition to my film score above, the movie has garnered mostly middle of the road reviews compared to some of the many positive moviegoer reviews I read in the past few months.  Oh well, to each their own, right?   There’s no doubt about it that Adore is at least thought provoking and kind of makes you question is this really plausible and if it happened to you, what would you do?   Would you reject the temptation of hot, forbidden youth or roll with it until they trade you in for a newer model?   Aw.   I got you thinking, didn’t I?  Good!   Keep those proverbial wheels turning as we dive deeper into all that goes down here.

We begin the journey by seeing a young, blossoming friendship of two little girls in an Australian seaside town, followed by a flash forward where these two little girls are all grown up now and each has a small boy of their own, which coincidentally are best of friends as well.   Then we fast forward again to a more modern time where Roz (Wright) and Lil (Watts) are still very much best friends as are their grownup sons, Ian (Samuel) and Tom (Frecheville).  Roz’s husband Harold (Mendelson) and their son Tom both have a flair for the dramatic arts so much so that Harold landed a job in Sydney, but Roz wants no part of it and ends up staying behind with her son.  Harold vows to return.   Lil, on the other hand, is a widow as we find out in an earlier scene.   Well, I guess you can say through the course of natural selection one thing leads to another and  Ian initiates a romance between Roz.   When Tom finds out he defiantly sets a plan in motion to win over Ian’s mom, Lil.   Are you confused yet?   You should be.   This is kind of where I have the biggest beef with the movie.   How about I explain myself?

We’re you convinced when Anakin Skywalker all the sudden turned to the Dark Side in Revenge of the Sith?  Were you sold at all or did it seem way too rushed, too convenient and not practical?   Well, I wasn’t sold.   And that’s kind of how I felt here too.   Things happened way too fast and the next moment Roz and and Ian are doing the boom boom.   Whoa!   Where did that desire and longing even come from?  Is Ian that horny and desperate because I’ll put my man card down on the table and say he’s not bad in the looks department?   What happened to cause all this all so sudden?   I feel a bit cheated here, I’m sorry to say.  I can understand Roz would be flattered, but she looks like an older version of Princess Diana so what’s up with Ian’s tastes?

So I guess you can throw in the word provocative here.  Despite the R-rated subject matter there’s never really any graphic scenes of nudity here.   That’s a shame huh?   However, remember what I pondered about up above?   How long can this really go on?   Is this infatuation, hormones or sickness?   Do these women really expect this new found romance to last?  How do they feel about each other boning each other’s sons?   And wait a darn cotton picking minute.   Isn’t Roz married?  Now you see why I tossed the word proactive along with thought provoking here?   It begs to question that this film deals with some very taboo and wrong scenarios here.  Just how far is too far?   What lines are safe to cross?   Thankfully, Adore will answer all of those for you and will not leave you hanging.  However, it’s the replay value here that concerns me.   While I did not hate my journey with Adore, I’m not sure when the mood or fancy will strike to watch it again if you know what I mean.   I guess with this title it’s really to each their own.

For me, once this inappropriate square of sexual conquests began, I remember looking at the clocking and saying Jesus they have more than an hour left.   Where’s this thing really going to go?   That’s why I mentioned Brokeback Mountain above because after another two-year time jump and some additional shake ups and cast additions Adore really does answer the question about who really adores who in the end.  And for that I’m glad.  At least it left me feeling like I watched a complete story, not some choose your own kind of ending.



Paramount Home Entertainment feels right at home here with this warm, friendly and inviting 1080p AVC MPEG- 4 video transfer framed in a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio.  There are a lot of land bound brightly lit scenes, but the black levels, admittedly so, are a little shallow for me.  I prefer them to be deeper.  However, I loved fine detail, resolution and clarity in things like the bright blue oceanic water, the lush, green vegetation and even the cracks and crevices in the individual bricks that adorn the beach house (some people just don’t know how good they have it).  It should just be noted that things are not razor sharp here.   There are moments if that Blu-ray three-dimensional pop, but it’s not completely throughout.  The colors and flesh tones, on the other hand, are natural throughout.  Nothing is blown or tweaked out of proportion.  Thankfully, I did not spot any traces of compression or notice any visual blemishes, noise or artifacts in the picture.  It’s a very homely and safe transfer, nothing exceptional and nothing to sneeze at either…if that makes sense to you.

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This is a romantic drama so obviously you are not expecting anything earth-shattering or bombastic here, right?   I think it would be very safe to say that with the exception of the clarity and volume of dialogue here, things are about average and on par for a release of this kind with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track.  The surfing scenes brought the most engaging elements to the soundscape while other natural ambience was very subtle throughout, but at least present.  My biggest beef was with this one facial slap.   There just wasn’t enough oomph behind it for me.  So with that all being accounted for, you can’t go wrong here.   It’s middle of the road, like the film, but very suitable as a vehicle for delivering the end product here.   There are also selectable subtitles for English and Spanish here via the main menu.

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This is the part of the review where if not for at least the inclusion of a Digital Copy, we would be seeing that dreaded goose egg make an appearance.   I’m not sure if you can necessary count a Digital Copy as an extra, but for the sake of getting into a tiresome debate here, let’s just say it is.  So while you won’t find any “real” extras here on this steamy Blu-ray release, you will find a redemption code for both an iTunes Digital Copy as well as its UltraViolet counterpart.   How’s that for Paramount making fans of both sides happy here?   And that’s why I love when studios like Paramount and Universal do this for their consumers.

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I hope I don’t come across harsh in my words above.   It’s not that I didn’t like the film discussed above.   It’s just that it’s not the film I thought I was going to see.  I was expecting to see something more steamy and controversial like that one other film I keep mentioning up above, Brokeback Mountain.   Now don’t get me wrong.  I was not expecting Naomi Watts to uncross her legs like Sharon Stone did in Basic Instinct, but I was hoping for something a little more risqué in the pushing the boundaries department.   While we see a couple bare butts here or there (not Watts), this film trudges along on the safe side of the stream for an eventual Lifetime release it feels like.   And that’s not a bad thing if that’s what the filmmakers were going after.  I guess what I am trying to say is that if you’re curious about this film like I was, then perhaps a rental would be a safe recommendation at first.  If you like it, then great!   Pick it up later on.   For those of you who can’t wait, you can graciously pre-order this December 10th Blu-ray release here.  Thanks for reading!


2 Responses to “Adore (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. John

    A thought this was a very strong film. It’s funny that you mention the softness of Wright’s slap; I think it was an audio transfer error. On the French language blu-ray the sound of the slap is loud and clear, but when I listened to it on the English language version it is barely audible. It’s a shame that these audio errors pop up so frequently.

  2. Brian White

    Thanks John! I appreciate the feedback.
    I’ll have to give the Digital Copies a spin and see if that slap is the same in them.