Based on a true story, unfortunately, the story is just average and the DVD release is on the same par.
American Rhapsody tells the story of a Hungarian families (Nastassja Kinski, Tony Goldwyn) escape from their country during Communist rule. Because of the danger they must leave their baby behind and circumstances prevent her from coming to America for another six years. Once she becomes a teenager (Scarlett Johansson), the young girl knows something is missing from h…r life, and journeys back to Hungary looking for answers.
Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 are provided. Some scenes have a great feel to them. From a baby crying in another room to the busy Budapest train station the separation is very good. Most are more average. Too often, the voices blend with the background and the music, making for a muddled sound.
The widescreen presentation is clean but not overly impressive, once again, just average. Early in the movie we have Hungarian archival footage during World War 2, and then newly shot Black & White scenes, then, once we are taken beyond the Iron Curtain, we have colour. The colour is nicely different between Hungary and California. From the drabness of the Hungarian landscape to sunny Los Angeles of the 1960s, the filmmakers have captured many moods on a limited budget.
Of course we get the usual extras (English subtitles, scene selection, theatrical trailer) but the thing that brings the whole package to completion is the commentary from writer/director Éva Gardos and producer Colleen Camp. Because this is the director’s life captured on film you get to hear fascinating stories of her growing up years and the license that is sometimes taken to get “reality” into “based on a true story”. Often, after seeing a true story, I wonder what the real story is. With this commentary, you are able to find this out down to the little details of the director’s life.
Although I felt the movie wasn’t that compelling the director’s commentary was able to get me more involved. Hearing the excitement in her voice, talking about her life and the creation of the movie, brings you full circle in her journey from frightened Hungarian child to a grown American woman.
Special Features List
- Theatrical Trailer
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Eva Gardos