Posted in: Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on December 12th, 2010
Bryce and Juli first meet in the second grade. Juli is convinced that Bryce is walking around with her first kiss, while Bryce is not returning any sense of being similarly infatuated with Juli. As the years pass by, Bryce manages to keep her at bay, until things “flip” (as it were) and it is Juli who may be veering away from Bryce.
This will-they won’t-they (probably will) romance is told by trading the point-of-view and narrator between Bryce and Juli. This tactic makes the story more interesting to take in, despite the potential tedium of having the entire story essentially being told twice. The audience is privy to the continuous compare and contrast happening between Bryce and Juli’s thoughts and feelings and so we get a more immediate understand of who they are, and what they are motivated by.
Speaking of motivation, by having the main characters as our narrators we really get a clear sense of the theme of repression in this film. Bryce and Juli both witness their parents try to repress any feelings of expression that might be considered socially unacceptable in their late-50s/early-60s society, all the while constantly repressing their true feelings about…well, most everything. A very well stocked supporting cast, which includes Anthony Edwards, John Mahoney and Penelope Ann Miller, helps keep things convincing in this vein of emotional repression. Not exactly the sort of contemplative theme one might place into a “family film” but director Rob Reiner has done a good job of punctuating a heart-felt tale with moments of depth and realism.
With all this in mind, I must comment on how this can also negatively effect the tone of the film. For the majority of its duration, Flipped is light, humourous and almost “Hallmark” in its storytelling. The aforementioned moments of repression (some scenes becoming extremely tense) help make the characters more naturalistic, but at the sacrifice of the sort of “feel-good” vibe the packaging promises.
Widescreen 1.85:1. The frequent browns and other Earth tones are lush but there are trace bits of fuzziness during some interior night shots. That sort of thing should be completely absent in HD.
1080p HD seems to run an average of about 20mbps.
DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 and Dolby Digital Spanish 5.1. This is not a loud movie at all, but things are perfectly clear in the speakers. The narration and the in-scene dialogue are equally balanced and clear. No complaints.
Subtitles available in English and Spanish.
The following features are light-evidence that this film is being marketed towards younger audiences as they have the tone and pacing of children’s show fodder.
The Differences Between a Boy and a Girl: A harmless but unenlightening look at the young stars and the making of the film.
Embarrassing Egg-Scuses: A look at the chickens who played a crucial part to the plot. Ever see anything on a kid’s show about chickens that really blew your mind? Well, this one probably won’t either.
How to Make the Best Volcano: Callan McAuliffe, who plays Bryce, shows us how to make one of those baking soda volcanoes you commonly see at school science fairs (as we do in the film). Why not? It’s by far the most useful and interesting feature in this package, and having the star of the film perform it is a nice touch.
Flipped: Anatomy of a Near Kiss: This feature is the only one that is NOT a Blu-Ray exclusive. It’s more a giggly blooper real than behind the scenes feature. Either way, it’s pretty tedious.
Digital Copy of the Film on second disc.
This is a sweet little tale that can certainly be enjoyed by families, but with a warning that there is some foul language, intense scenes and even a scene containing domestic abuse. So parents/guardians, use your best discretion but don’t be totally scared off from a very nice film.