With such a huge cast, you would normally never think twice about seeing this flick. That is until you realize that it is a total chick flick...and is entirely way too long. Okay, maybe it isn't that bad, but we'll get into that later. Just be warned, I watched this movie with my wife and my mother, and the only one that enjoyed it was my mother.
Ann (Vanessa Redgrave) has lived an incredibly full, long life. As she lies sick and dying in her bed, her two grown daughters Nina and Connie (Toni Collette & Natasha Richardson) are at her side. Ann "dreams" and reflects on her most life-changing weekend as a young, beautiful woman (Claire Danes). It is the weekend her best friend was married, the weekend she met Harris (Patrick Wilson), and the weekend she made her biggest mistake. Her daughters look on as she dreams of what used to be and they hope to learn more about their mother's life, family, and love.
Evening has such a stunning female cast, with the likes of Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Vanessa Redgrave, Natasha Richardson, Meryl Streep, and even Glenn Close. Not everyone has a "major" role if you will, but definitely has a role that is important for the story. There is such a unique range of talent that makes Evening fun and entertaining to watch, even though the film itself is longer than necessary and a bit slow. That said, Evening's cast was perfectly placed into their roles. It was by far one of the best cast films in recent years.
Unfortunately not even an unbelievable cast can save a movie from being extremely slow. I did enjoy the flashbacks, as we went from past to present and back again...it was presented very well, but it didn't make for good watching as it made everything go more slowly. We get bounced back and fourth between the past and present and watch parts of Ann's life unfold in front of us. The cuts are sporadic and confusing at first, but then we get accustomed to what is going on. Sadly, we are never able to really get to know Ann, her story, or character, which is Evening's biggest flaw.
Evening is a heart-warming, lovable film where we watch the life of one woman and all the lives she has influenced in turn. We see the meaning of family and what love really is. But regrettably we aren't drawn deep enough into Ann's life and are never able to connect with her on a level that we should have been able to. Overall, Evening is just okay, and fails to be as good as it could have been.
Given a 1080p VC-1 codec and a 2.35:1 aspect ratio we have a fairly inconsistent transfer that just doesn't impress. To start with the couple good things, we are presented with some great colors in outdoor scenes. The greens, blues, and reds really tend to pop very well. Also, the detail is good and the skin tones are even. Unfortunately that is about all that I could find good about it. There are some issues with edge-enhancement which makes the characters look almost fake and out of place. This could also be due to the high contrast the film is plagued with. Since most of the scenes from Ann's "present" are dark, detail is lost and the scenes feel quite aged with a good amount of grain. I just couldn't get into this transfer, and overall it was very inconsistent and just didn't work.
Here we have a fairly good couple of tracks. We get a 5.1 Dolby Digital TrueHD and a 5.1 Dolby Digital track. They both seem pretty close to each other, but never really truly impress. They both have decent ambient sounds in the surrounds, but considering how much dialogue is in the film, it seems that they did a good job filling them. The dialogue is a little quiet at times, but is pretty even throughout. I was never really impressed with the track is it is jut okay throughout the entire film.
All of the extras are presented in 1080p.
Deleted Scenes: Here we get some pretty good scenes that would have actually helped fill in some of the gaps that seemed to be missing, and could have helped us understand Ann's life better.
One Weekend by the Sea: Remembering Evening: This is a very well put together feature with cast and crew chatting about the film. This feature is loaded with tons of details about characters, cast, and creating Evening. Definitely worth a look.
Adapting Evening: Just as it sounds...a feature about bringing Evening to the big screen. Here we have cast and crew talking and even get Susan Minot, who wrote Evening and helped bring it to the screen.
Evening can be heart-warming, it can be lovable, but it just isn't enough. It is a story about love, life, and family, but is missing too many parts and leaves too many things out there. The video is just okay, and thankfully the audio is a little better. Go ahead and Skip It, I just can't even ask you to go rent this one unless you have nothing better to do.