New to Blu-ray/DVD: 52 Tuesdays, The Water Diviner, & 3 Hearts


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Editor’s Notes: 52 Tuesdays, The Water Diviner, and 3 Hearts are out on their respective formats July 28th.

52 Tuesdays
Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 11.18.50 AM52 Tuesdays (Kino Lorber) uses a filming technique inspired by Richard Linklater’s Boyhood.  With footage shot every Tuesday for 52 consecutive weeks, Director Sophie Hyde traces the mental and physical developments of both James (Del Herbert-Jane), a mother transitioning into a man, and his daughter, Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey), a teen who’s coming to terms with her own sexuality. We are present during weekly sessions with James’ therapist and see struggles with which family members are grappling. Though Billie publicly states her absolute acceptance of her mother-to-father’s procedure, she secretly begins to engage in inappropriate ways.

Director Hyde realistically deals with the uncertainties of an individual toward a loved one undergoing such a drastic change. Billie intellectually recognizes that her mother-becoming-father is the same person within, but it’s hard for her to totally accept the transition, especially at a crucial time in her own maturation process. The film tackles tough questions rather than sidestepping them, making it possible to identify easily with Billie’s inner conflict as she’s confronted with the long, gradual process of gender change. The topic is not one dealt with a lot in feature films (TV’s Transparent has also dealt with the subject), and it make for riveting drama as well as a unique coming-of-age tale.

Bonus features on the DVD release include blooper reel, deleted and extended scenes, and a making-of featurette.

The Water Diviner

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The Water Diviner (Warner Home Video) takes place in 1919. An Australian farmer Joshua Connor (Russell Crowe) travels to Turkey to retrieve the remains of his three sons, lost in the Battle of Gallipoli campaign of World War I. When he arrives in Istanbul, he encounters others who have suffered their own losses in the conflict: Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko), a beautiful young widow whose own husband was killed in the war; her young son, Orham (Dylan Georgiades), who finds a friend in Connor; and Major Hasan (Yilmaz Erdogan), a Turkish officer who fought against Connor’s boys and who may be Connor’s only hope for closure. With one obstacle after another in his path, Connor must travel across the Turkish landscape to discover the truth.

The Water Diviner marks Russell Crowe’s debut as director. He uses flashbacks to show the three brothers on the battlefield and the brutality of warfare. Though intense and bloody, the battle scenes are not the primary attraction of the film. This is not a movie that glorifies war. It is about the heavy burden of loss for people on both sides of the conflict. Historically, Gallipoli was a key event in the emergence of Australia and New Zealand, former colonies of the British Empire, as individual nations.

The Water Diviner is quite a task for a first-time director. Crowe successfully blends the personal story of Connor with the background of the recent, devastating battle while turning in a believable performance. His acting method of choice is underplaying and letting his reactions communicate what he’s thinking. He admirably handles the film’s spectacle while keeping in focus its characters. Too often, in a movie such as this, spectacle takes precedence over character development. Ultimately, The Water Diviner is the story of a sad quest. Incorporating elements of Shenandoah, in which a father can’t stay neutral when his sons are drawn into war, and Saving Private Ryan, with its graphic up-close images of horror and death in battle, Crowe chronicles the journey of a man looking for what he hopes will bring him peace.

Bonus extras on the Blu-ray release include a behind-the-scenes, making-of featurette and an overview of the Battle of Gallipoli on its 100th anniversary.

3 Hearts

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3 Hearts (Cohen Media Group), directed by Benoit Jacquot, is a drama about a romantic triangle. An homage to “love at first sight” romances, the film opens in a provincial town where tax inspector Marc (Benoit Poelvoorde) has been stranded. When he misses the last train back to Paris, he heads for a bar where he meets and is immediately attracted to Sylvie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who’s distraught over flare-up with her boyfriend and is unsure of her future. Marc and Sylvie make love and promise to meet the following week in Paris.

But Marc fails to show up after suffering a mild heart attack. Sylvie takes this as a sign and moves to America with her boyfriend. Marc never forgets her, but falls in love with an equally wonderful woman named Sophie (Chiara Mastroianni). They marry and start a fine life together until Sophie’s family comes for a visit. Marc discovers that Sophie and Sylvie are siblings.

Though the movie is filled with convenient coincidences and plot twists, it is redeemed by the performances of the three female leads (Catherine Deneuve plays the girls’ mother). Director Jacquot draws a major plot element form Leo McCarey’s An Affair to Remember with Fate separating Sylvie and Marc for years and then reuniting them under chance circumstances. The movie is given a suspenseful, often foreboding tone, by its score, which sounds as if it comes from a Hitchcock or noir thriller.

Blu-ray bonus features include an interview with director Benoit Jacquot and a theatrical trailer.


About Author

For over 25 years, I was the Film and Home Entertainment Reviewer for "The Villadom TIMES," a New Jersey weekly newspaper, and have written for several other publications. I developed and taught a Film Studies program for two New York City high schools that included Film History, Horror/Fantasy, and Film Making.