Beautiful Ohio (2006/Genius/IFC DVD)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: D Film: B-
Beautiful Ohio (2006) is not the first film or
other work actor Chad Lowe directed, but it is his best to date and a real
breakthrough behind the camera, telling the tale of an American family in the
early 1970s trying to deal with the generation gap, cultural changes, music
changes and the counterculture itself.
William Hurt and Rita Wilson are dead-on as the parents, while their two
sons (played very effectively in the teen years by David Call and Thomas
McCarthy) are good friends, but the elder Clive (Call) is in his own world and
is having the biggest problem communicating with anyone, while he is also a
even seemingly speaking his own language that he shares with his friends, which
frustrates his parents and drives his brother to look for the writing and if
there is a translation key. It becomes
the impetuous for the story and what is a character study of both the family
and the time, including some subtle items that show how families have actually
gone backwards since the 1980s. Ethan
Canin’s exceptional screenplay has nuance that so many writers miss, especially
when trying to recreate the 1970s.
Though there are some rough patches, they are minor and this is the best
film since Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin
Suicides about the period. Up to the
end, Beautiful Ohio is a pleasant
surprise that gets better as it goes along.
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image is soft and has some grain, but it is a
good looking film and part of it might be an attempt by Lowe and Director of
Photography Stephen Kazmierski to be period in subtle ways, which is a plus and
helps make this look like the time period.
A Blu-ray would and should bring out more, including how good some of
these compositions really are. The Dolby
Digital 5.1 mix is dialogue-based, but Craig Wedren (Velvet Goldmine, The School
Of Rock) supplies some great music in his score and the choice of hit
records of the time is exceptionally strong and smart. There are sadly no extras.
- Nicholas Sheffo