Anna is a young widow who is finally getting on with her life after the death of her husband, Sean. Now engaged to be married, Anna meets a ten-year-old boy who tells her he is Sean reincarnated. Though his story is both unsettling and absurd, Anna can't get the boy out of her mind. And much to the concern of her fiancé, her increased contact with him leads her to question the choices she has made in her life.Written by
Sujit R. Varma
During a Galla tribute to Nicole Kidman at the NY Film Festival in 2012, NYFF program director Richard Peña called this film one of the most underrated films of the last twenty years. See more »
In the second bath scene near the end of the movie, the amount of mud on Sean's face changes between shots. See more »
Voice of Sean:
Ok, let me say this.
Voice of Sean:
Let me say this. If I lost my wife and, and uh, the next day a little bird landed on my windowsill, looked me right in the eye, and in plain English said, 'Sean, it's me, Anna. I'm back' What could I say? I guess I'd believe her. Or I'd want to. I'd be stuck with a bird. But other than that, no. I'm a man of science. I just don't believe that mumbo-jumbo. Now, that's gonna have to be the last question. I need to go running before I head home.
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You know I loved Sean so much, and its been so long that I still can't get him out of my system.
I remember when it was released in 2004, there was a big hurrah about "the" bath scene, many vitriolic complaints about how slow it was, how not scary it was et al. Birth is many wonderful film making things, of course not all of those things will resonate or enthral many of the movie watching populace, yet there is such craft on both sides of the camera here, and an atmospherically ambiguous bloodline pulsing throughout, that marks it out as a particularly striking film.
Plot finds Nicole Kidman as Anna, who is about to be re-married but finds her world tipped upside down when a young boy (Cameron Bright) arrives on the scene and announces he is the reincarnation of her dead first husband...
Director Jonathan Glazer and his co-writers Jean-Claude Carrière & Milo Addica are purposely being vague, I mean lets face it, the topic to hand is exactly that, vague, and ripe for countless hours of discussion. The film simmers along deftly, meditations on love, grief and anger are skilfully portrayed by all involved. Even a birthing tunnel metaphor doesn't come off as self indulgent, from the off Glazer wants and gets those interested in the story to buy into the hypnotic qualities on show. To jump on board with Anna's fragility while all around her battle for rhyme or reason with her mindset.
In truth it's a hard sell as a piece of entertainment, there's still today, over a decade since it was released, people miffed that the hinted at supernatural elements are not key to the narrative. While the thin line of good and bad taste - and maybe even pretentiousness - is being tested by the makers, but the charges of Birth being dull are just wrong. It never shows its hand, the mystery always remains strong, while Kidman and Lauren Bacall are reason enough to admire the acting craft on show.
Hated by many, inducing even anger in some quarters, Birth is a tantalising picture. A conundrum designed to get a response, for better or worse. 8/10
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