Meryl Streep's filmography reflects that of a very talented actress known for challenging herself with tricky roles, which she carries off with aplomb. Now into her 60's, she seems to be having a bit more fun and whimsy with her career, with roles in Mamma Mia!, The Devil Wears Prada, as a voice artist in The Fantastic Mr. Fox and now this; It's Complicated.
After a chance encounter with her ex-husband Jake (Alec Baldwin) at a bar, Jane (Meryl Streep) is slowly seduced once more by his charm and the two embark on an, at first reluctant affair. However, complications arise from Jake's re-marriage, with a young step son. Simultaneously, she starts to fall for the kind hearted Adam (Steve Martin), an architect whom is designing her dream home. Soon, Jane is faced with the daunting decision of Jake and Adam, versus her family, his new family and her own happiness.
It's Complicated is a comedy with far more heart and soul than normally is the case and delves into the decisions that we all make on a daily basis that can have long lasting impacts. As a straight forward comedy and drama it ticks all the boxes, but it will definitely make you think a little, too. I very much enjoyed watching this film, one of the bigger filmic surprises I can remember for some time.
It's Complicated is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
Upon consultation with IMDB, it seems that It's Complicated was filmed on 35mm film. The transfer reflects this, with a tight but visible grain structure and the occasional fleck of artifacts. I wonder why more films like this aren't filmed digitally. Maybe it's the relative constraints of the camera system, or maybe it's the director's personal feelings on the matter. I know which choice I'd be making.
As it stands, It's Complicated features a very detailed and life-like transfer. The hues are a little on the warm side, but this looks like a conscious decision by the DP. I noticed a few film artifacts, but nothing too concerning. The transfer is very sharp, save for some soft filtering at times.
Overall, a very nice transfer and more than befitting the movie.
The main audio track is encoded in DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, at 24 bits.
For the most part, such a technically proficient track is wasted on this film. The film itself doesn't call for it and I can't recall any scenes in the movie that would have benefitted from more aggressiveness in the audio track. This is all very subtle stuff and is designed to not call attention to itself.
Thankfully it does everything that the source material asks of it; there are no audio sync or issues with inaudible vocals. There is bleed in the rear channels, but it's fairly minor supporting of the score with some occasional directional effects.
Overall, this was never designed to be a reference audio track, it simply recreates everything the source material asks of it. And a fine job it does.
It's Complicated runs fairly scant in the extra features department, but let's see what we have.
Audio Commentary is provided by Director Nancy Meyers, along with the Director of Photography and Executive Producer. With almost every film now featuring an audio commentary, you really have to be a massive fan of a given movie to sit through it in totality. I'm just not sure that there will be many people who love this film so much that want to sit through two hours of these behind the scenes tales. I sampled sections and found it to be quite revealing, but I couldn't imagine listening to all two hours of it.
Finally, The Making of Its Complicated is a 20 minute featurette peppered with small soudbytes by the leading cast and crew, edited together with film footage. It reveals a fair amount of useful information, and watching it a week after watching the actual film reminds me of how much I enjoyed the film. Interestingly, this was produced by Laurent Bouzereau, known for some fantastic behind the scenes documentaries in times past.
Unfortunately absent are trailers, and I can't help but wonder where the outtakes reel is? With the talent on board, it would probably be hilarious. A shame.
Review Equipment Used:
Display: Sony KDL52X3100 LCD (1080p resolution/ 24p playback)
Player: Sony BDP-S550 Blu-ray, PlayStation 3 (24p playback)
Sound: Sony STR-DA5400ES Receiver (7.1 configuration), Sony SSX70ED front speakers (x2), Sony SSCNX70ED center speaker, Sony SSFCR7000 surround speakers (x4), Sony SAW3800 Subwoofer (Front), Sony SAWM500 Subwoofer (Rear)