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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
You Light Up My Life (1977)

"I'm really close. It's right there. I can feel it waiting for me."
- Laurie (Didi Conn)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: January 21, 2002

Stars: Didi Conn, Joe Silver
Other Stars: Michael Zaslow, Stephen Nathan, Melanie Mayron
Director: Joseph Brooks

MPAA Rating: PG for (mild language)
Run Time: 01h:30m:52s
Release Date: January 22, 2002
UPC: 043396079649
Genre: drama


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- B-B-B D-

DVD Review

Yep. This is the film that foisted Debby Boone's syrupy title song onto the world, and though it won the 1977 Academy Award ® for Best Song (go figure), there's no accounting for it's extreme saccharine content. But put the song aside for a moment, and Joseph Brooks' film is a surprisingly engaging romantic story that once again treads on that familiar ground of someone trying to follow their dream to stardom. Like the song, it's sticky sweet, but it just happens to work much, much better.Laurie Robinson (Didi Conn) is an aspiring singer/songwriter trapped in the shadow of her overbearing, but well-meaning comedian father Si (Joe Silver). She is stuck doing a lame ventriloquist act on a kid's show, and to make matters worse, she is engaged to a dullard named Ken (Stephen Nathan), and she feels her life is heading quickly down the wrong road. Her life is further complicated by a chance romantic encounter with hotshot director Cris Nolan (Michael Zaslow), and the rare opportunity to land a film role is suddenly within her grasp. Laurie has to face a number of tough life choices during the quick 90 minute runtime of You Light Up My Life. Conn, best known as Frenchy from Grease, with her high-pitched, uniquely nasally voice, plays Laurie as someone who is not a completely innocent waif, but rather a refreshingly believable and realistic character. We've all seen the one dimensional starry-eyed dreamer role before, and director/screenwriter Brooks has refreshingly given Laurie more substance and attitude than is typical of the genre.Laurie's relationship with her father is the strongest part of the film, and Joe Silver is a terrific balance to Conn. His turn as the second-rate comic is well played, and he nails the gentle, but inadvertently controlling, dad role. There is a moment near the film's conclusion where Laurie tells her father that he has "to let go", and his "I didn't know I was holding on" reply is ideally bittersweet, and sure to make any parent get a little misty-eyed. Did I just say that?Despite the slightly annoying title song, I can honestly say that I did not dislike this film. It's not the genre of filmmaking I would normally gravitate towards, but Conn and Silver really make this much better than it should have been.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: On this two-sided disc, Columbia TriStar has issued a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer on one side, and a 1.33:1 full-frame on the other. The overall image transfer is inconsistent, with a fair amount of grain and poor, muddy black levels interspersed with occasional moments of natural, well-saturated color. Some compression issues are evident, as well.The good far outweighs the bad, especially considering the age of this film, but it's still not a completely impressive image transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: The audio transfer features a fairly full English mono track, that while lacking any real dynamic range, does present the well-mixed dialogue cleanly. The title song, schmaltzy as it is, sound decent enough. No distortion or hiss to detract from the viewing experience. No complaints.A French mono mix is also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Other than Columbia TriStar's standard international assortment of subtitle languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai) and 28 chapters, there is nothing extra here.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

This is a better-than-average follow your dream kind of movie. It loses points for the over-played title song, but if you take that away you're left with a somewhat engaging, romantic drama. If that's your cup of tea, that is.

 


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