The Heart Of Me

The Heart Of Me (2002)
Heads Up International
Cast: Helena Bonham Carter, Olivia Williams, Paul Bettany
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scene, Interviews, Trailer

The BBC production ’The Heart Of Me’ is a wonderfully romantic and dramatic voyage through personal emotions and relationships. It tells the story of two sisters, Madeleine ( Olivia Williams) and Dinah (Helena Bonham Carter) in London in the 30s. Madeleine is married to Rickie (Paul Bettany) who begins an affair with her sister Dinah. Over many years this affair has repercussions through their lives, changing each one of them, changing their relationships with each other and their emotions. Chained together by family ties, neither can escape the other and so, over the years their lives are a constant struggle that often exceeds their strengths.

I like fatalistic stories like this where people never find the fulfillment in the true love they have in their hearts, and ’The Heart Of Me’ is a great example how such a passionate and romantic film can be powerful and engaging without a second of melodrama – and I thoroughly applaud the movie’s ending, allowing the viewer to connect the final dots and find closure. The cast is simply stunning, spear-headed by Helena Bonham Carter in another fine performance.

The film is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen in an anamorphic transfer on this DVD and the transfer is entirely free of defects or blemishes, making for an absolutely clean and clear viewing. Colors are lush and vivid throughout, bringing out the great production design, and settings. Skin tones are always faithfully rendered, giving the film a very natural look. Black levels in the transfer are solid and balanced, giving the image good visual depth, allowing shadows to be deep, yet never loosing definition. No edge-enhancement is evident and the compression has also been handled well, to create a great presentation on this DVD.

The DVD contains a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital audio track that is well-integrated and makes good use of the surrounds. Frequency response is wide with good basses and clear high ends. Though this is not an aggressive sound track, the dynamic range of the audio is good and manages to nicely reproduce every subtle nuance in the mix.

As supplements the DVD contains a commentary track by director Thaddeus O’Sullivan and writer Lucinda Coxon. The commentary is a bit dry at times as the two go through their thoughts and anecdotes about the film. It contains a lot of valuable information and insight in to the material per se, and is definitely worth checking out, but it is not you easy-going easy-listening commentary that you may have gotten used to form other movies.

The DVD also contains a deleted scene, which is introduced by Lucinda Coxon. Running almost 5 minutes it is quite lengthy and could certainly have been used in the film despite it being excised.

A 7-minute segment with cast and director interview snippets is also included, adding additional insight into the production and most importantly the characters. The DVD is rounded out by the movie’s trailer.

’The Heart Of Me’ is a wonderfully rich experience full of heartfelt emotions and empathy. In this case it shows how a momentary lapse can lead to a lifetime full of implications. The DVD is solid through and through