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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Wit
Wit
HBO // PG-13 // September 11, 2001
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Blake Kunisch | posted September 6, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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Movie: Wit is a story of courage, hope, and perseverance. Based on the award-winning play of the same name, almost the whole movie is set in a hospital as Vivian Bearing (Emma Thompson) struggles with Phase IV ovarian cancer (as pointed out in the movie, there is no phase V). We follow Vivian as she undergoes 8 full-dose treatments of chemotherapy as she must keep her sanity, pride, and most importantly, her wit, to help her through it.

While Wit is most definately not the feel-good movie audiences have come to expect, it paints a startingly vivid and precise image of the kind of treatment chemotherapy is. Emma Thompson is superb in her role as Vivian as she portrays the complex feelings and thoughts she undergoes. Easily one of her best performances, she enhances the Pulitzer-prize winning play and for most of the movie, you forget that it was made for TV.

It's no secret where the film will end up, as we are introduced to Vivian through a long diatribe, and then we flash back to various points over the tenure of her illness. Played with truthfulness and reality, Emma Thompson brings Vivian alive and keeps the movie entertaining and informative.

Picture: I was surprised when I started playing the movie that HBO had presented this movie in widescreen, but I'm glad they did - it added a sense of realism to the film and made it that much more believable. Presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen, the movie is almost flawless. Only a few defects were visible, although they were hard to detect and were not distracting at all from the otherwise clear and vivid transfer.

Audio: Although the film is only presented in stereo, 2.0, you really couldn't ask for more. The dialogue is crisp and easly understandable and since it is a dialogue-driven movie (based on a play), there's not much more you could expect. There are no special effects, and really no reason to add surround.

Extras: Like most of HBO's typical offerings, this DVD lacks in the extras department. The special features listed include: Chapter Selections (standard on all DVDs now), Audio (how is this an extra?), Subtitles (hardly an extra feature), and Cast & Crew Bios (another de facto extra on most DVDs that I could do without). The menu screens are presented well with clear navigation, but the extras are clearly lacking and a major disappointment.

Conclusion: Wit is a unique film - it takes a hard subject matter and presents it in a clear and intelligent manner. Emma Thompson is at her top form as a cancer-stricken Vivian Bearing and her performance makes this film stand out. If you like action flicks, this is most definately not a DVD for you, but if you enjoy an intelligent script with a great lead performance dealing with both human fraility and strength, this is most certainly a movie you'll enjoy.

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