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The First Beautiful Thing Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A (B? C?)
  • Rating: N/R
  • Run Time: 122 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Palisades Tartan Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 22, 2012
  • List Price: $29.98

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

Director/co-writer Paolo Virzì shows Italian cinema at its best in this quaint and charming family comedy-drama, The First Beautiful Thing (La prima cosa bella). The story of listless college professor, Bruno (Valerio Mastandrea), who is struggling to find meaning in his life and dealing with a drug addiction. Bruno returns home to his mother’s deathbed and begins to reflect on his past with his separated mother (Stefania Sandrelli) and younger sister. Through flashbacks, the story spans back to the early 1970s when Bruno’s young mother Anna left her abusive husband, taking her two children on a whirlwind adventure of different homes, trying her best to provide for them while trying her hand at acting, different lovers, and part-time jobs, through the 80s and into the present. Bruno’s closed-off heart and antagonistic manner towards his sister Valeria (Claudia Pandolf) and his mother slowly softens as he remembers the small joyful moments they all enjoyed together, despite the difficulties they faced.

This is life portrayed as it often is, messy, heartbreaking, yet always moving forward and jumbled together in an array of moments that are often more influential on your development, more meaningful to one than one knows until confronted with them head on. Paolo Virzì’s masterful control of the lens and the often gorgeous cinematography by Nicola Pecorini make this a delight all around.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

While The First Beautiful Thing does at times look a bit gritty, this is not a bad thing. The beautifully film-like AVC transfer captures the 35mm source wonderfully, with great texture, an excellent saturation of colors and strong sense of contrast.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

An Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) that for some reason is tagged as English on the disc, is supplied with The First Beautiful Thing by Palisades Tartan. It suits the material at hand perfectly, providing not only clean dialogue, but offers up excellent atmospherics like a cellphone ringing off to the far side or traffic noise in the right surround. The occasional use of pop songs that fade up into the mix provide a good spread of sound across the front, emphasizing the natural dynamics as well.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

Only the original theatrical trailer in 1080p is supplied alongside additional Palisades Tartan trailers.

  • Theatrical Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

The First Beautiful Thing is a throwback to great Italian cinematic classics updated for the contemporary audience. It works on the heart and mind with a strong story, beautiful imagery, and strong performances. Recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

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