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Married Life (Blu-ray + BD Live)

3.7 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Harry (Academy Award® winner Chris Cooper, 2002, Best Supporting Actor, Adaptation) and Pat (Academy Award® nominee Patricia Clarkson, 2003, Best Supporting Actress, Pieces of April) have a nice, respectable marriage. But when Harry falls in love with a beautiful young lady, he decides he must kill his wife, because divorce would cause her too much pain. Richard (Pierce Brosnan) is Harry's caddish best friend who realizes he must have Harry's lovely mistress (Rachel McAdams) for himself. Love and friendship are contemplated with noir-style suspense and wry humor in this sly comedy that reveals there's nothing quite as devastating, or as divine, as married life.

Far too many period productions look right, but feel wrong. Set in 1949, Married Life doesn't just bring the post-war era to vivid life with cigarettes and cocktails aplenty; it even plays like a product of the time. In that respect, it calls to mind AMC's Mad Men, except Ira Sachs (Forty Shades of Blue) takes a lighter tone towards domestic disharmony. In this well-scrubbed suburban world, middle-class wives, like Pat (Patricia Clarkson), build their lives around their husbands. Pat and Harry (Chris Cooper) seem happy, but Harry confesses to his pal, Richard (narrator Pierce Brosnan), that the spark is gone. He plans to leave Pat for vibrant young war widow Kay (Rachel McAdams in a role that recalls The Notebook). Once Richard, a notorious ladies man, gets a gander at the platinum blonde, he secretly sets out to win her affections, while Harry plots to take Pat out of the picture. Married Life almost simulates one of Alfred Hitchcock’s pessimistic disquisitions on matrimony, yet Harry and Richard seek less hurtful means to achieve their goals. Though women's lib has yet to hit the suburbs, Pat and Kay harbor desires of their own, and the best-laid plans soon go awry. Though Kay could use further development, this ensemble hums along almost as harmoniously as the quartet in Starting Out in the Evening. Along with co-writer Oren Moverman (I'm Not There), Sachs transforms John Bingham’s 1953 novel, Five Roundabouts to Heaven, into an insightful treatise on love, marriage, and fidelity. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Annabel Kershaw, Sheila Paterson, Erin Boyes, Elijah St. Germain, Terence Kelly
  • Directors: Ira Sachs
  • Producers: Ira Sachs, Steve Golin, Jawal Nga, Sidney Kimmel
  • Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Arabic, English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 2, 2008
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001BL2VX6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,773 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 3, 2008
Format: DVD
MARRIED LIFE will probably fare better in the DVD format where this at times disturbing view of marital status can be viewed in private rather than in the company of the throngs that resemble the characters depicted in this fine little film. Based on the novel 'Five Roundabouts to Heaven' by John Bingham and well adapted to the screen by Oren Moverman and director Ira Sachs, MARRIED LIFE is a dissection of the hallowed state of matrimony, and one that shows the creases and little holes that make so many marriages fail. it is set in the late 1940s, likely with the attempt to give some 'distance' to the plot, but the messages remain in comparing the tale to contemporary times.

Narrated by perennial playboy bachelor Richard Langley (Pierce Brosnan), we are introduced to Harry Allen (Chris Cooper) who apparently has it all - big house, great job, sex-driven wife Pat (Patricia Clarkson), country home - but Harry has fallen in love with military widow Kay Nesbitt (Rachel McAdams). Harry respects and still 'loves' Pat, but finds in Kay the love he has felt missing from his marriage. He confides his desire to leave Pat to Richard who is surprised - until Richard meets the beautiful Kay. Not wanting to hurt Pat, Harry decides the only solution is to murder Pat so that he can then marry Kay: he researches poisons and buys a potion that he plans to place in Pat's ever-present 'digestive medicine' bottle. Harry and Kay continue their secret assignations in both Kay's home and Harry's nearby country home, but things begin to muddle as Richard falls for Kay, and Kay's attention shifts to Richard, and the devoted Pat is hiding her secret lover Tom (David Richmond-Peck). As the twists and turns surface, everything unwinds and the ending of the story comes as a surprise to everyone!
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Format: Blu-ray
A Pierce Brosnan narrated period piece about love, marriage and in the end - friendship. I will preface this with a disclaimer - the high rating and bit about friendship is for the alternate versions of this film.

The quality of the transfer looked very good, and I think when they make heavy make-up films like this the standards have to be higher now. Making it look flawless on such beauties as McAdams and an aged Brosnan and Cooper (alternates) can be tough, but they pulled it off decently. The clarity was so good at times there were a few reflections of cameras, lights and boom mics in glasses, eyes, etc. The story was made to be very believable for the time period, but I have to give the kudos to Cooper for once again playing a great role.

But what makes this film is the alternate endings. DRASTICALLY different then what you saw in theaters and on the home release. The special features on the Blu are the same as on the DVD, so buying this Blu would be recommended for the period piece memorabilia clarity alone. Plus, the other endings showed as 1080 even though it says 480 on the box (and most alternate inclusions are lodef on Blu so that was nice). I wish there was a way to bookmark the film and splice in the much better ending(s). Rex Reed keeps getting quoted as saying this is humorous and funny but I would say expect more of a "simmering" slowly played film that has some fun scenes and maybe one or two themes of darkness, but is believably enjoyable. The alternate endings total about 20 more minutes and are worth the time investment.
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In all of the press I have seen, in all of the interviews I have watched, everyone mentions how "slyly funny", how "darkly humorous" the new film "Married Life" is. The joke must have gone over my head.

Richard Langley (Pierce Brosnan) tells us the story of his great friend, Harry (Chris Cooper). Harry, a successful businessman in New York, circa 1949, has a loving, even doting wife, Pat (Patricia Clarkson). But he has fallen in love with a beautiful young widow, Kay (Rachel McAdams, "Red Eye", "Wedding Crashers", "The Notebook"). Rather than put his wife through the humiliation of a divorce, of leaving her, he decides to poison her. Then, a free man, he can move on and marry Kay. But Harry makes one mistake; he introduces Kay to his great friend, Richard, a lothario like no other, and he is also attracted to Kay.

Directed and co-written by Ira Sachs, "Married Life" is a very believable look at the way people lived in the late 40s. The attention to detail is astonishing; clothing, furniture, cars all appear authentic. In one scene, they visit a movie theater and watch a lesser known Ava Gardner film. It's a nice touch. So often in films set in the past, they go to the theater to see "The Wizard of Oz", "Casablanca" or "Citizen Kane". Sure, these are extremely memorable films, but they weren't the only three films made pre 1960.

The four leads are all very good, all very believable. Pierce Brosnan's Richard narrates the film, introducing us to the characters, to the story and guides us throughout. He speaks in a softly modulated tone, giving the film the feeling of a fable or a fairy tale. His voice, complete with Irish accent, lulls us into the story, slowly helping us get acclimated to this world.
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