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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » In the Time of the Butterfiles
In the Time of the Butterfiles
MGM // PG-13 // May 7, 2002
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 19, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

An enjoyable and ambitious film that never quite takes off the way it should, "In The Time Of The Butterflies" stars Salma Hayek (who also was one of the producers) as Minerva Mirabel, one of three sisters, including Mate (Mia Maestro) and Patria (Lumi Cavazos). Minerva has always been the most head-strong of the three, determined to be a lawyer in a country that won't allow her. In her mind though, it's not a matter of "want", it's a matter of "will".

The movie takes place in the Dominican Republic, where dictator Rafael Trujillo (Edward James Olmos) has been ruling using terror and fear instead of attempting to make a better life for his people. When tragedy occurs, Minerva, her new boyfriend (singer Marc Anthony, in his acting debut) and her sisters join a revolution to overthrow the dictator, with terrible consequences.

The film's best element is Hayek's performance. As a fiercely independent young woman who fights for what she believes in, the actress offers the best performance that I've seen from her, offering solid range and intensity. Unfortunately, the rest of the actors aren't as interesting, nor are their characters very well-developed. With the 92-minute running time, the film takes a half hour to get going on the story, while also never really exploring the story fully.

As someone who wasn't familiar with the real-life story that this film portrays, I found it informative and interesting to learn about the horrible conditions that these people had to go through and how they bravely rose up to fight for their freedom.

Stronger and more powerful in the more dramatic second half, "In The Time Of The Butterflies" is often tense, horrifying and powerful; I'd almost think it would've been even better had it filled out the characters and story with additional scenes.


The DVD

VIDEO: "In The Time Of The Butterflies" is presented by MGM in 1.33:1 full-frame, which appears to be the film's original aspect ratio. Given that this film made its debut on Showtime, I'm guessing that this is the case. The picture quality is generally very good, as the image remains crisp and bright throughout, with solid detail and occasionally, nice depth to the image.

Flaws rarely appear; there were a couple of tiny traces of pixelation, but nothing in the way of edge enhancement or any print flaws. While the tone of the film is quite glum, it often takes place in beautiful settings, whose warm colors show wonderfully here.

SOUND: "In The Time Of The Butterflies" is presented by MGM in Dolby Digital 5.1, although the surrounds are essentially never used throughout the picture. Audio quality was very good, as slight ambience was clearly presented, while dialogue was natural and easily understood.

MENUS: The menus open with slight animation, then remain static.

EXTRAS: Nothing.

Final Thoughts: A fine feature with an excellent performance from Salma Hayek, "In The Time Of The Butterflies" is worth looking at as a rental. MGM's DVD provides good, if not exceptional audio/video and no supplements for the high $26.98 price.
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