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Simon Birch [DVD] [1998]

Release Date:05/18/1999
Love comes in all sizes, and the proof is in the dramatic comedy Simon Birch. The film is presented in 1.85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen and is in only passable shape. The transfer does sport its fair share of solid colors and black levels, though the edges often feature an annoying softness around them. Simon Birch is a film in desperate need of an anamorphic enhancement, and maybe someday soon fans will be treated to such an event. Until then they're stuck with this mediocre image. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English, as well as Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround in French. The 5.1 mix on this disc isn't bad, though it also isn't great -- the directional effects only tend to kick in when the sappy music swells over various scenes. Otherwise, only a scattering of very subtle effects can be found on this sound mix. However, fans will be pleased to find this mix void of any excessive hiss or distortion. No alternate subtitles or soundtracks are included on this disc. Viewers will weep a river when they find out that this disc is completely bare bones -- not even a theatrical trailer has been included on this DVD release of Simon Birch.
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    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (5 out of 5)

    Special Features

    • Dolby Digital 5.1 audio
    • French-language track, Dolby Surround
    • Theatrical trailer
    • Chapter search


    Simon Birch
    This comedy-drama features a narration by Jim Carrey, looking back to childhood in a manner similar to the narration on TV's The Wonder Years. The film is the directorial debut of writer Mark Steven Johnson, scripter of Grumpy Old Men and its sequel. Johnson adapted only a small portion of John Irving's 600-page novel A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989), but Irving requested a credit other than "based on" and also asked that the character name of Owen Meany be changed. So Owen became Simon Birch -- which then required a title change. In the title role is 11-year-old Ian Michael Smith, who is afflicted with Morquio's syndrome, a genetic disorder which causes dwarfism. The story begins when Joe Wenteworth (Jim Carrey) visits the grave of his childhood friend Simon Birch, whose stone is marked 1952-64. Joe explains that Simon is "the reason I believe in God." This is followed by a flashback to their friendship during the early '60s. In Gravestown, New Hampshire, young Joe Wenteworth (Joseph Mazzello) doesn't know who his father is, and his loving mother Rebecca (Ashley Judd) won't tell him. Joe's best buddy is young Simon Birch, born so tiny that his classmates pass him about like a "doll." Neglected at home, Simon turns to Rebecca as a surrogate mother, and he often has dinner with the Wenteworths. One night, Rebecca brings her friend Ben Goodrich (Oliver Platt) home for dinner, which annoys her crotchety mother (Dana Ivey). Later, the lives of the two 12-year-olds receive a cruel twist, and the two then become more curious to learn the secret of Joe's father. Shown in competition at the 1998 Montreal Film Festival. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Ian Michael Smith
      Ian Michael Smith - Simon Birch
    • Ashley Judd
      Ashley Judd - Rebecca Wenteworth
    • Oliver Platt
      Oliver Platt - Ben Goodrich
    • David Strathairn
      David Strathairn - Reverend Russell
    • Dana Ivey
      Dana Ivey - Grandmother Wenteworth

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.