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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » You'll Like My Mother (Blu-ray)
You'll Like My Mother (Blu-ray)
Shout Factory // PG // May 10, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted May 29, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
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P R I N T
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THE FILM:

Click an image to view Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution.

A young widow travels to her dead husband's Minnesota family home seeking a relationship with her distant mother-in-law, Mrs. Kinsolving. This happens in the dead of winter, and the woman is unable to leave when the grieving matriarch is anything but welcoming. A young Patty Duke is excellent as widow Francesca Kinsolving, and Rosemary Murphy is subtly menacing as the unhappy host. Lamont Johnson's thriller is based on a novel by Naomi A. Hintze, and was filmed at the Glensheen Historic Estate, which notably became the site of a double murder five years after the film's release. You'll Like My Mother is not a perfect thriller, and it too quickly reveals its hand, lessening the suspense. The strong performances and claustrophobic setting do buoy the production and help overcome the film's faults.

The very pregnant Francesca trudges from the bus station to the isolated mansion where her late husband spent his childhood. The woman who answers the door is standoffish, and soon reveals her displeasure that Francesca ever married her son. She chides Francesca for not bothering to tell her about the wedding, something Francesca disputes. Francesca meets her non-verbal and mentally disabled sister-in-law, Kathleen (Sian Barbara Allen), who seems afraid of her mother. As the snow piles up, Mrs. Kinsolving reluctantly invites Francesca to stay the night, for the baby's sake. She does, but soon realizes Mrs. Kinsolving is making no effort to get her back to the bus station.

There is a cable-television vibe throughout You'll Like My Mother, but the actors give committed performances. Much of the horror comes through whispered revelations and Francesca's own snooping. There is plenty of circumstantial evidence that Mrs. Kinsolving beats Kathleen, which is disturbing in and of itself. This is not a fast-paced, graphic thriller, and is instead a deliberate, claustrophobic and suspenseful drama. Had Johnson waited longer to make big reveals, his movie might have retained the suspense it builds in early scenes. Once the motives and opportunities are revealed, getting to the end of the film feels like an obligation instead of an opportunity. I'll also note here that these twists are very similar to those in a movie I reviewed here recently. If you know it, you'll know what I mean.

Despite a few faults, I admire You'll Like My Mother for its straightforward narrative and economical suspense. The upside to the aforementioned early reveals is that the film never resorts to convoluted storytelling or cheap tricks. There is something refreshing about a movie that sticks to its guns and does not provide the audience with false leads and red herrings. Duke and Murphy are both excellent here, and you can feel the anger and contempt boiling just under the surface of their characters. The snowbound mansion provides a tight, unnerving prison for its pawns, and the film puts poor Francesca through the ringer for 92 minutes. This film may have been mostly forgotten, but it is certainly worth revisiting on Blu-ray.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

Nice job, Scream Factory! This 1.85:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image is quite impressive, and the transfer retains a natural, film-like appearance throughout. The print is largely free of dirt, debris and scratches, and the grain is stable and resolved. Fine-object detail is very impressive, as is texture and resolution in deep-focus shots. Colors are bold and nicely saturated. Black levels are good, with only minor crush, and skin tones appear natural.

SOUND:

The 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio dual mono mix is also good. There are no problems with distortion, clipping or crowding, and the sound is rather immersive for a mono mix. Dialogue is crisp and clean, and the Gil Melle score is nicely resolved. English subtitles are available.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This single-disc release arrives in a standard Blu-ray case with two-sided artwork. The key art is on the front, and inside you get several stills from the film. There are some nice bonus features created exclusively for this release. The Mystery of Kenny and Kathleen (55:38/HD) offers extended interviews with Sian Barbara Allen and Richard Thomas about the story, production and cast. You also get a Photo Gallery (2:15/HD) and the Theatrical Trailer (2:21/SD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This claustrophobic thriller has a Lifetime vibe but is nonetheless an entertaining, straightforward and suspenseful drama. Patty Duke and Rosemary Murphy are good as a young widow and her icy stepmother, respectively. The young woman is not welcomed at her late husband's family home, and soon realizes her mother-in-law may be holding a grudge. Scream Factory's new Blu-ray offers excellent picture and sound, as well as newly shot interviews with several cast members. Recommended.


Additional screenshots:

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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