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Rowan Athale
Margaret Qualley, Nick Robinson, Amy Ryan
Writing Credits:
Eric Garcia

A woman surprises the family of her long-deceased boyfriend by telling them she's pregnant with his child.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 10/22/2019

• “Grounded in Reality” Featurette
• Preview


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Strange But True [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 16, 2019)

Based on John Searles’ 2004 novel, 2019’s Strange But True introduces us to Melissa Moody (Margaret Qualley), a young woman in her early 20s. Five years earlier, she and her boyfriend Ronnie Chase (Connor Jessup) got into a car accident on their prom night.

Obviously, Melissa survived this wreck. However, Ronnie did not.

Now Melissa shows up on the doorstep of the Chase household with a baby in her belly ready to emerge. Melissa claims that she bears Ronnie’s child, a shocking belief that starts all involved down a disturbing path.

To quote Dana Carvey’s impersonation of Johnny Carson, that is some weird, wild stuff, and not a bad launching point for a film story. Given the premise, True could go down a series of paths, both reality-based or supernatural.

Unfortunately, True fails to explore its potential avenues in a satisfying manner. It ambles in a sluggish manner for its first two-thirds before it then ratchets up the action to compensate.

None of this really works. For an hour, we get a loose character tale, one in which we don’t connect to any of the roles.

We get the most basic basics about Melissa and the others, but the film fails to flesh them out well. It just dodders for 60 minutes or so, as it meanders along these character arcs without much investment.

Then the writers go “crud – we need to end this soon” and decide to ladle on plot twist after plot twist. The film essentially leaps into a different genre for its final act, and it does so in an abrupt, unconvincing manner.

I won’t divulge when genre Wish embraces, as that would enter spoiler territory. Suffice it to say the different sections of the film don’t connect, and the shift in tone feels awkward.

Wish does come with a high-quality cast. In addition to Qualley, we Nick Robinson and solid veterans Brian Cox, Blythe Danner, Amy Ryan and Greg Kinnear.

None of them find room to do much with their roles. All remain largely one-note throughout the flick, as its nature doesn’t allow them time to develop engaging roles.

Buried deep, the bones of a potentially engaging story. However, it fails to depict the material in a satisfying manner.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

Strange But True appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, this was a positive image.

Only a smidgen of softness ever cropped up here, mainly in some low-light shots. Otherwise, the movie showed nice clarity and delineation.

Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also stayed away from this clean image.

In terms of palette, True went with mainly teal orientation, with some splashes of amber at times as well. Overall, the hues were fine for their visual choices.

Blacks showed good depth, while low-light shots boasted nice clarity. This was a solid “B+“ presentation.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it gave us competent sonics most of the time as well as a little pep on occasion. A drama like this didn’t need to boast a rock-em, sock-em mix, so the audio seemed acceptable.

Usually, the soundfield didn’t have a lot to do. This meant it concentrated on good stereo music and general ambience.

Every once in a while, though, the mix came to life – in a moderate manner, at least. These moments didn’t dazzle, but they gave the mix reasonable breadth.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other concerns. Music appeared full, with reasonable definition.

Effects remained clear and accurate, with some pretty solid low-end response during louder moments. This became a fairly satisfying track for a largely chatty movie.

Called Grounded in Reality, a 16-minute, 15-second featurette appears. It involves comments from author John Searles, director Rowan Athale, producer Fred Berger, screenwriter Eric Garcia, and actor Amy Ryan.

“Reality” looks at the novel’s inspirations, story/characters, cast and performances, and aspects of the shoot. Though not a deep program, “Reality” works better than most, and it includes enough insights to be a worthwhile effort.

A preview for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark opens the disc. No trailer for True appears here.

A limp character drama, Strange But True seems too superficial to succeed. Perhaps the source novel fares better, but the movie lacks impact or coherence. The Blu-ray offers very good picture along with adequate audio and a featurette. A potentially compelling tale sputters.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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