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Tumbledown Blu-ray Review

Tumbledown (2016) movie poster Tumbledown

Theatrical Release: February 5, 2016 / Running Time: 103 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Sean Mewshaw / Writers: Desi Van Til (story & screenplay), Sean Mewshaw (story)

Cast: Rebecca Hall (Hannah Miles), Jason Sudeikis (Andrew McCabe), Dianna Agron (Finley), Blythe Danner (Linda Jespersen), Richard Masur (Bruce Jespersen), Griffin Dunne (Upton), Joe Manganiello (Curtis Brown)

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Over the past few years, Jason Sudeikis has been transitioning from comedian to actor, while Rebecca Hall has been gone from prospective mainstream movie star to actress. The two find themselves co-leads in the indie comedy-drama-romance Tumbledown, the feature debut of both director Sean Mewshaw and writer Desi Van Til.

Hall plays Hannah Miles, the thirtysomething widow of Hunter Miles, a musician who earned a good deal of respect for his only album. She lives alone in the seclusion of her native Maine, where the couple made their home. Still very much in the midst of the grieving process, Hannah is trying to turn memories of her husband into a biography when pop culture scholar Andrew McCabe (Sudeikis), an associate professor at Hofstra University, comes to town trying to get input into the book on Hunter he has gotten an advance to write.

In "Tumbledown", widow-journalist Hannah Miles (Rebecca Hall) is referred to seek outside help on the biography of her late husband she is working on.

Playing up wanting to rescue Hunter from obscurity, Andrew's pitch is met with resistance, but after realizing she won't be able to do her husband justice on her own,
she offers Andrew $50,000 to stay in her guest room and co-write Hunter's biography with her over his spring break.

While learning about Hunter (whose haunting music is that of singer-songwriter Damien Jurado) and the circumstances of his hiking accident death, Andrew grows closer to Hannah and even gets to spend Easter with her family (parents played by Blythe Danner and Richard Masur). Tension emerges when the purpose of Andrew's stay becomes known and it also lingers between him and Hannah as they together discover a potentially priceless unreleased track and he speculates Hunter's death was no accident.

Tumbledown doesn't comfortably fit into any template. At times, it resembles a studio romantic comedy that plays up location, like The Proposal, Did You Hear About the Morgans? or New in Town. But only some of the cast (most prominently, Masur and Joe Manganiello as Hannah's manly sex buddy) bothers adopting strong Maine accents. And both the romance and comedy are underplayed for most of the film, leaving us with a drama that never takes itself too seriously despite dealing with death and healing.

Pop culture professor Andrew McCabe (Jason Sudeikis) plays a little guitar.

Everyone on both sides of the camera acquits themselves fairly well. Sudeikis is at ease being more than comic relief, Hall is comfortable with the little comedy chops she is asked to display, and supporting roles, no matter how thankless, are capably filled by everyone from Griffin Dunne to "Glee" alumna Dianna Agron. You're never quite sure where Tumbledown is going and even the movie seems pretty ambivalent towards destination and resolution. But you never mind too much because this is clearly one of those movies that aims to be more of a character-driven experience than simply a plot-driven story and it does a decent job of meeting its goal throughout and keeping you invested.

The latest Starz Media film to languish in the obscurity of limited theatrical release, Tumbledown hits Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday from the company's home video arm, Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Tumbledown Blu-ray Disc cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 Dolby TrueHD (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Not Subtitled
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Suggested Retail Price: $26.99
Single-sided, single-layered disc (BD-25)
Blue Keepcase
Also available as DVD + Digital ($22.98 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video


Tumbledown may have cost significantly less than most films, but it doesn't look noticeably worse than them on Blu-ray. Anchor Bay's clean, sharp 2.40:1 presentation is basically flawless. While the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack may not command much notice, it does get the job done with nary a concern.

Screenwriter Desi Van Til explains the origins of her ideas in "The Making of 'Tumbledown.'" Damien Jurado, who gives the film's deceased musician his voice, discusses "The Music Behind 'Tumbledown.'"


The film is joined by two HD featurettes on Blu-ray. "The Making of Tumbledown" (22:41) is standard but thorough,
covering almost every topic you can think of from the film's inception to the cast to the production with the usual talking heads and behind-the-scenes footage. The only thing it neglects to cover is...

"The Music Behind Tumbledown" (2:48), which briefly looks at Damien Jurado's contributions to the film in a piece that easily could have been incorporated into the main making-of piece.

The disc opens with a trailer for Just Before I Go, which is not menu accessible. Tumbledown's trailer is neither accessible by menu nor any other way, since it's not included here.

The dramatically scored main menu plays slow motion clips. The Blu-ray doesn't support bookmarks.

No inserts join the full-color disc in the standard blue keepcase.

Hannah (Rebecca Hall) and Andrew (Jason Sudeikis) get a taste of small town Maine life on a Saturday night dinner outing.


Tumbledown is a film that will not generate the strongest of reactions. This Maine-set indie dramedy sustains interest and has its moments, but it's a little too uneven and unremarkable to fully embrace or recommend. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray holds a fine feature presentation and adds a couple of decent extras. If the story or cast have you hooked, then you could do worse than a rental of this.

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Reviewed April 1, 2016.

Text copyright 2016 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2016 Starz Media, Bron Studios, Hahnscape Entertainment, Rusticator Pictures, Corner Piece Capital LLC, CW Media Finance, and Anchor Bay Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.