Mr. Church (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
October 14, 2016 by Dennis Amith
“Mr. Church” is a film that revolved around friendship, family and love. Recommended!
TITLE: Mr. Church
FILM RELEASE: 2016
DURATION: 105 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English, English SDH and Spanish
COMPANY: Lions Gate
RATED: PG-13 (Thematic Elements)
RELEASE DATE: October 25, 2016
Directed by Bruce Beresford
Written by Susan McMartin
Produced by Lee Nelson, Courtney Solomon
Co-Producer: Stephanie Caleb, Nicolas Chartier, Elizabeth Costa de Beauregard Rose, Wayne Marc Godfrey, David Hopwood, Robert ones, Scott Karol, Lucy Mukerjee-Brown
Executive Producer: David Anspaugh, Fredy Bush, Yu Wei Cheng, Brad Kaplan, Lawrence M. Kopeikin, Dennis L. Pelino, David Tish
Associate Producer: Ian Brereton, Babak Eftekhari, Mark Frazier, Franchesca Lantz
Music by Mark Isham
Cinematography by Sharon Meir
Edited by David Beatty
Casting byMarisol Roncali, Mary Vernieu
Production Design by Joseph T. Garrity
Art Direction by Eric Jihwan Jeon
Set Decoration by Lisa Son
Costume Design by Karyn Wagner
Eddie Murphy as Henry Church
Britt Robertson as Charlie
Natascha McElhone as Marie
Xavier Samuel as Owen
Lucy Fry as Poppy
Christian MAdsen as Eddie Larson
Mckenna Grace as Izzy
Natalie Coughlin as Young Charlie
Madison Wolfe as Young Poppy
Lincoln Melcher as Young Owen
When a little girl and her dying mother retain the services of a talented cook, what begins as a six-month arrangement spans fifteen years, and creates a family bond that lasts forever.
From filmmaker Bruce Beresford (“Driving Miss Daisy”, “Double Jeopardy”, “Breaker Morant”) and writer Susan McMartin (“Son in Law” and producer of “Two and a Half Men” and “Mom”) comes the film “Mr. Church”, which was inspired by a true friendship.
The film stars Eddie Murphy (“Beverly Hills Cop”, “Trading Places”, “Coming to America”), Britt Robertson (“Tomorrowland”, “The Longest Ride”, “The First Time”), Natascha McElhone (“Designated Survivor”, “The Truman Show”, Solaris”), Xavier Samuel (“Love & Friendship”, “Fury”, “Twilight Eclipse”), Lucy Fry (“Vampire Academy”, “The Preppie connection”, “11.22.63”) and Christian Madsen (“Divergent”, “King Jack”, “Palo Alto”).
And now “Mr. Church” will be available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Lions Gate.
“Mr. Church” begins with an introduction to a young Charlotte “Charlie” Brody (portrayed by Natalie Coughlin) and her single mother Marie Brody (portrayed by Natascha McElhone).
Charlotte is shocked to find a Black man preparing food for the entire family.
Marie explains that the man is Mr. Church (portrayed by Eddie Murphy), a cook that was hired by her deceased ex-lover to take care of her for the remainder of her life, which was expected to last six months as she was dying from breast cancer.
While Charlie was kept in the dark about her mother’s cancer, at first Charlotte wanted Mr. Church out of the house but Mr. Church has more than just become the family cook but also was there for her and her mother.
What was supposed to be a paid job for six months, turned to six years, as Mr. Church would financially take care of the family. And Charlotte (portrayed by Britt Robertson) is now a high school senior who would eventually come to know about her mother’s cancer as she is quite sick, but instead of growing closer to her during her tough years, she becomes more curious and closer to Mr. Church, because she is unable to deal with her mother’s impending death.
As Charlotte wanted to know more about Mr. Church, she starts to realize that he has his own secrets that he doesn’t want anyone to know.
But what started out as curiosity becomes a true friendship between Charlotte and Mr. Church.
“Mr. Church” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio). The film looks very good in HD as closeups show great detail. Outdoor scenes look fantastic in HD!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Mr. Church” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The film features crystal clear dialogue and music with surround channels dedicated to crowd ambiance.
Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.
“Mr. Church” comes with the following special features:
- Britt Robertson – (3:51) Interview with actress Brit Robertson about her role and with the producers of how she was cast.
- Eddie Murphy Doing a Drama – (3:56) Interview with the producers in regards to casting Eddie Murphy as Mr. Church and Eddie Murphy about his role.
- Food on Film – (1:13) A featurette about the food preparation for the film and Eddie Murphy and crew discussing prop food.
- Based on a True Friendship – (3:31) The director and producers discuss writer Susan McMartin’s true life experience.
“Mr. Church” comes with a slipcover and an UltraViolet HD code.
Watching “Mr. Church”, the film’s story revolves around friendship and for some, how that friendship can also mean much more and be seen as family.
A film about a young girl who developed a friendship with the family cook who became much more. And a true friendship that would develop through adulthood, “Mr. Church” is a film that doesn’t strive to be anything deep or complicated.
Some may find “Mr. Church” to be simplistic as it focuses on the perspective of Charlotte, while others may prefer the film would revolve around Mr. Church much more.
But I found the film to be delightful yet simple as it revolved around a man named Mr. Church who gave his life to raise a woman suffering from cancer and her child. And would continue to do so after the passing of the girl’s mother. The girl would grow to become a woman but eventually instead of pursuing her dreams as a writer, she gets pregnant and moves back home and goes to the only person that she can confide in… Mr. Church and once again, Mr. Church takes care of Charlotte, now a mother, and her young daughter Izzy.
But as they age and Mr. Church gets older, Charlotte will now be one to take care of the friend that has always been there for her.
The film doesn’t go too deep into the racial aspects, especially during the tense times of the ’70s. As the character of Charlotte and her mother accepted Mr. Church into their home and saw him not only as their cook but as a family member.
If the film had any drama, it’s Mr. Church’s private life. While he functions as the family cook earlier on, he makes it clear to Charlotte that what he does at night in his own time is his life and does what he wants. Eventually we learn that Mr. Church has his own skeletons in his closet that he has not come to terms yet.
As for the Blu-ray, picture quality is very good with closeups featuring wonderful detail, outdoor scenes looking quite vibrant. Dialogue and music (may it be it’s jazz or ’80s music) are crystal clear. And there are a good number of special features included.
While “Mr. Church” didn’t receive the greatest reviews, as some found it too simplistic and others felt there should be more emphasis on Mr. Church and possibly the film in his perspective, I watched the film and saw it as the cycle of life.
We all have grandparents, parents, relatives and friends that we all grow up with and many of us have been fortunate to have people who have raised us, inspired us and at times, we pay it forward by helping others or we end up taking care of those who once took care of us.
And for this film, “Mr. Church” is a film that revolved around friendship, family and love. Recommended!
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