At Middleton (Blu-ray Review)

At Middleton - www.whysoblu.comAcademy Award nominees Andy Garcia (Ocean’s 11, City Island) and Vera Farmiga (A&E’s Bates Motel, Up in the Air) star as straight-laced, George and eccentric Edith, two strangers who meet on their children’s college tour at the idyllic Middleton University. Despite their opposing temperaments, George and Edith play hooky together, ditching the textbook tour for a carefree afternoon reminiscent of their youth. But what begins as an afternoon of fun soon becomes a revealing and enlightening experience that will change their lives forever. A light-hearted romance for adults on the surface, At Middleton is a deeply moving and enlightening portrait of the timelessness of romance and youth. Taissa Farmiga (“American Horror Story”), Spencer Lofranco (Jamesy Boy), Peter Reigert (“Dads”), and Tom Skerritt (“Picket Fences”) also star in this story about what can happen on your first day of college – no matter who you are – At Middleton. 


At Middleton - www.whysoblu.com


At Middleton is the story of George Hartman (Andy Garcia) and Edith Martin (Vera Farmiga) who are both scheduled for a tour of the Middleton campus with their children. Conrad is George’s son (Spencer Lofranco) and Audrey Martin (Taissa Farmiga) is Edith’s daughter (she’s also Vera’s sister in real life). They both deal with the complexities of sending their children to this college or college in general and Conrad doesn’t really want to go to Middleton and Audrey really does, so there’s that opposite pull-push thing they got going with their respective families.

George is fairly uptight and is a heart surgeon, so cue the last name jokes! Edith is a high-end children’s furniture business owner and they discover what makes each other tick at the Middleton campus tour as they try to take in the sights and sounds of the campus. Be warned hijinks do ensue but none of them are of the try-hard variety. I went into At Middleton with an open mind and mainly due to Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga since I’m a big fan of both actors. What I got from At Middleton was a very fun and spontaneous comedic romp with several hints of harsh reality thrown in.

I will say that George and Edith together onscreen are positively electric and they play off each other seamlessly. In fact, they’re so cool onscreen that you could see how some would think that their scenes and dialogue is completely unscripted. It’s that natural. That’s a testament to their talent and their onscreen chemistry. We see them initially nitpicking one another before we find out that they both might be in loveless marriages and that they’re only with their respective significant others for the kids and now that the kids are leaving for college what will happen to them, etc. It’s as if the adults getting left behind have as many questions than the kids that are leaving for college. I really liked that angle, because we mostly just see college life from the kid’s point of view as opposed to the parent’s point of view. At Middleton touched on both angles.

At Middleton also focuses on Conrad who really doesn’t want to go to school but who may change his mind by the end of the day due to some amazing discoveries. By the same token Audrey really wants to go to Middleton, meet her favorite author/lecturer/possible mentor and nothing will stand in the way of her obsession. You know, until she gets a crash course in life. These are just some of things our characters get into. I found the film to be pretty hilarious as I thought Garcia and Farmiga had perfect comedic timing when fooling around and then they were able to switch it up at an instant for the more serious moments, which there are more than a few.

I have a feeling that At Middleton will be the type of film that no one will see due to lackluster promotion or just plain unawareness. I’m really glad I discovered and was pretty surprised at where the film ended up going. I did not see it coming and that thought it was a bold move going against convention. I give the film a high recommendation and hope that more folks discover At Middleton on Blu-ray, because it’s definitely worth seeing.


At Middleton - www.whysoblu.com


Encoding: AVC MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: Sharpness levels were spot on, contrast was never boosted, and the film has a very natural and unprocessed look. No complaints here.

Depth: The film has unbelievable “pop” especially in the scenes taking place outside. I will say that the weather Gods blessed At Middleton with some great film production weather.

Black Levels: The film takes place over the course of a day and we do not get to see what night tine on campus is like but during the several scenes that our characters are running amok on campus hiding from security and whatnot the low-lit darker corners of the classrooms are on point. Crush was never detected.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is rich and vibrant especially during the outdoor scenes on campus. Those greens! Color banding was nowhere to be found.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones appeared healthy and natural – indoors and especially outdoors.

Noise/Artifacts: I did not spot any instances of noise, debris, dirt, or speckle.


At Middleton - www.whysoblu.com


Audio Formats(s): Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: At Middleton won’t blow down the house with its sound design but in context the film has a pretty above average presentation in terms of sound quality. This is enhanced during the several scenes where Andy Garcia, Vera Farmiga, and the kids get separated during the tour.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel kicks in every once and while usually during music or song playback.

Surround Sound Presentation: The rear channels handle the ambience quite well at the Middleton campus.

Dialogue Reproduction: At Middleton is a dialogue driven film and the center channel soundstage handles the multitude of voices nicely.

At Middleton - www.whysoblu.com


Not a lot of extras are found on this Blu-ray but we get a nice enough audio commentary, some funny outtakes, and Andy Garcia singing on a song he wrote and co-composed.

  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Adam Rodgers, Writer/Producer Glenn German and Producer/Actor Andy Garcia – Here’s an above average audio commentary track that’s heavy on the information without the dryness. Rodgers and German do great in keeping the tone light and fun while Andy Garcia reflects in certain parts and is somewhat quiet through most of it. He apologizes for this at the end of the credits (the commentary goes until the end of the credits) by saying he was absorbed by the film, which is why he was a little on the quiet side. I forgive him. 😉
  • Outtakes (HD, 11:09) – Some funny outtakes of the various actors choking on their lines. It’s pretty cool stuff considering the film doesn’t even seem scripted. I like that.
  • “There Was A Day” – Vocal and Lyrics by Andy Garcia, Music Composed by Arturo Sandoval and Andy Garcia, Arrangement by Arturo Sandoval (HD, 4:25) – This original song co-composed and written by Andy Garcia plays as an audio file with stills from the film accompanying it. It’s a cool song and Andy has a terrific singing voice.

At Middleton - www.whysoblu.com


I had my doubts about At Middleton but am glad it came through with flying colors. Some, as I was, will be slightly disappointed with the non-predictable ending but outside of that, the film is very funny and entertaining. The Blu-ray handles the video and audio very well and the extras a bit lacking. What we do get is an above average commentary track and some outtakes and a song from Andy Garcia. Give At Middleton a spin. You may be surprised.

Order At Middleton on Blu-ray!

At Middleton - www.whysoblu.com


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

1 Response to “At Middleton (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    I totally would have judged this one by its cover, but since I’m such a big fan of Vera’s work I am happy to read that this one was good!