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Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  14 November 2014 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 331,385 users   Metascore: 88/100
Reviews: 1,041 user | 562 critic | 49 from Metacritic.com

Illustrated upon the progress of his latest Broadway play, a former popular actor's struggle to cope with his current life as a wasted actor is shown.


(as Alejandro G. Iñárritu)


(as Alejandro G. Iñárritu) , , 3 more credits »
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Won 4 Oscars. Another 163 wins & 238 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamahl Garrison-Lowe ...
Stagehand (Daniel)
Costume Assistant
Keenan Shimizu ...


Actor Riggan Thomson is most famous for his movie role from over twenty years ago of the comic book superhero Birdman in the blockbuster movie of the same name and its two equally popular sequels. His association with the role took over his life, where Birdman is more renowned than "Riggan Thomson" the actor. Now past middle age, Riggan is trying to establish himself as a true artist by writing, directing, starring in and co-producing with his best friend Jake what is his Broadway debut, an adaptation of Raymond Carver's story, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. He is staking his name, what little artistic reputation that comes with that name and his life savings on the project, and as such will do anything needed to make the play a success. As he and Jake go through the process of the previews toward opening night, Riggan runs into several issues: needing to find a replacement for the integral supporting male role the night before the first preview; hiring the talented ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 November 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Birdman  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$424,397 (USA) (17 October 2014)


$42,335,698 (USA) (10 April 2015)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to 'Variety' Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) was shot in 23 days with a budget of $16.5 million. See more »


When Riggan's girlfriend brings him the newspaper and tells him to look at the review on page 12, there's a full page of ads on the left-hand page and he reads the review on the right hand page. In most newspapers, page 12, an even-numbered page, would be a left-hand page. See more »


[first lines]
Young Birdman: How did we end up here? This place is horrible. Smells like balls. We don't belong here.
See more »


References Iron Man (2008) See more »


Composed by Victor Hernandez Stumpfhauser (as Victor Stumpfhauser)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

I am perfectly aware that this is a wildly unpopular opinion but I think that Birdman is a terrible film
5 February 2015 | by (Venezuela) – See all my reviews

My rating: 2.0/10

My opinion on the film:

I am perfectly aware that this is a wildly unpopular opinion given the fact that most critics and moviegoers in general seemed to literally go crazy for it, but I think that Birdman is a terrible film. I think it was extremely pretentious, inhuman, contrived, shallow, devoid of substance, boring, soulless, lifeless, unfunny, and a total waste of what was on paper an assembly of a great cast and crew.

Employing many long takes, an intricate camera work, an infinitely complex cinematography, and a nearly seamless editing that gave the illusion that most of it was a single take, this is a movie that makes no worthy or substantial use of its undeniable technical prowess. In fact, though truly impressive for the obvious great effort put into it, after the first twenty minutes or so I was already tired of it. In that sense, it's headache-inducing.

Regardless of the last, had I been at least a little entertained by the plot and characters I had before me, I'm sure I would have enjoyed this film, but it didn't happen. As a washed-up actor with his glory days for playing a superhero way behind him that was trying to revitalize his career, this time on Broadway, Michael Keaton looked definitely inspired but his character was so unlikeable and dull that his efforts mostly left me apathetic towards what I was seeing. Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan, and Naomi Watts were alright but not very memorable, whereas that Emma Stone was the one that gave me a better impression in general and the couple of scenes she shared with Norton were part of the handful of moments that mildly caught my interest. However, for better or worse, this was Keaton's show and while I think he clearly overacted more than once, I didn't hate his performance nor did I like it either. In a film where practically everything was very unpleasant in my opinion, the acting was by far the most decent aspect.

In theory a black comedy, Birdman wasn't amusing in the slightest. Thematically it was supposed to be rich, ambitious and thought- provoking in its ideas concerning the notion of fame and of what it means to be a celebrity, but each and every one of those ideas felt forced, too obviously placed there and lacking all the necessary conviction to actually leave a worth-pondering mark. The final scene was truly ridiculous.

Alejandro González Iñárritu was the director of this showy mess and, after Biutiful in 2010, this marked his second film without screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga (arguably the real mastermind behind the "Death trilogy"), and for the second time in a row he has made something vastly boring and lacking in emotional drive and reach. While Biutiful did have some captivating moments, Birdman has even less but, worst of all, it is by all means a self-important and pompous piece of work that meant for me an exhausting, frustrating and ultimately hateful viewing.

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What did you think about why & if Riggan had telekinesis? deck007-1
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