Novitiate appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a fine transfer.
Overall definition seemed positive. Virtually no softness materialized, so the movie appeared accurate and concise.
I noticed no signs of jaggies or edge enhancement, and shimmering was absent. The film lacked print flaws and seemed clean.
Many period pieces opt for subdued palettes, and that was true here. The colors tended toward teal tones, with some amber along for the ride as well. These appeared fine within the film’s stylistic choices.
Blacks seemed dark and tight, and shadows demonstrated good clarity. This added up to a satisfying presentation.
A character drama wouldn’t seem to be a candidate for a whiz-bang soundtrack, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Novitiate fell into expected realms. The track oriented toward ambience, so don’t expect lots of sizzle from the mix.
Audio quality satisfied. Music was full and rich, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy.
Speech – obviously an important factor here – appeared concise and crisp. Nothing about the track soared, but it all seemed perfectly adequate for the project.
We get an array of extras here, and these begin with an audio commentary from writer/director Maggie Betts. She offers a running, screen-specific look at the film’s roots and research, cast and performances, story/characters, sets and locations, music, and connected elements.
Betts gives us a somewhat spotty chat. While she throws out a fairly positive array of notes, she also goes silent a bit too often. These factors make this a generally informative piece but not a great one.
In addition to an alternate ending (3:51), we find seven deleted/extended scenes (24:12). The “alternate ending” provides an epilogue that follows Cathleen 10 years after the film’s conclusion. While I don’t dig the movie as a whole, I do like its open-ended finale, so this capper would’ve been a terrible choice – I’m very glad the filmmakers left it on the cutting room floor.
As for the deleted/extended scenes, most of them add a little to various characters. Cathleen’s mother probably gets the biggest expansion, especially when we see a foreshadowing scene related to 12-year-old Cathleen’s entry into Catholic school. The added material doesn’t tend to offer much of interest.
In Conversation with the Cast goes for 25 minutes, 59 seconds and features Betts and actors Melissa Leo, Margaret Qualley, Dianna Agron and Julianne Nicholson. “Conversation” views the project’s origins and development, characters and performances, and connected domains. Some of the material repeats from the commentary, but the actors’ perspectives gives us good information – especially from Leo, as she offers a defense of her role.
The disc opens with ads for Call Me By Your Name, Mark Felt, Maudie, A Fantastic Woman, The Leisure Seeker and Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool. We also find the trailer for Novitiate.
As a view of one aspect of the Catholic church, Novitiate boasts potential, but it fails to capitalize on its themes well. Too much of the movie feels loose and without real narrative coherence. The Blu-ray boast excellent visuals as well as adequate audio and a good collection of supplements. Parts of Novitiate fare well but the film never comes together.