If I were to summarise 'Birth' in one word, it would be "appalling". Seriously, it's been a while since I've endured such an abysmal exuse for film-making.
I have no qualms with the basic premise of the plot, which I think showed huge potential. What a shame then, that it failed on such a grand scale.
Two of the most essential ingredients of any narrative are a good story and some convincing, engaging characters. 'Birth' failed to deliver on both these counts. Firstly, the narrative was turgid at best. A slow pace at times is acceptable in a good film which warrants our attention, such as many of Scorcese's. When it is simply drawing out a terrible film, it's just adding insult to injury.
Secondly I'll draw attention to what is, in my view, the most fundamental flaw in the film. The character of the young-boy-dead-husband-reincarnate (central to the film) was utterly unconvincing, thus rendering the rest of the narrative just as inconceivable. The character failed to convince on one major level; complete lack of emotion. Arriving on the scene and announcing in monotone 'I am your dead husband', coldly presenting evidence of this in the manner of a robot; these are not the actions of a man back from the dead trying to contact his beloved wife. Surely he would be filled with passion and emotion, unable to contain it?! We see the confusion and frustration of the child at times, but never a glimpse of the emotions of the man-ghost using his body.
This astonishing lack of emotion cannot be blamed on a bad performance from the actor Cameron Bright either, for we have seen his skills at work in both 'The Butterly Effect' and 'Godsend' (both excellent films by the way). So one can only assume that the Director actually intended for this bizarre characterisation. Inexplicable!
Poor Nicole tries her best, but there's really not much for her to work with in this film, and so it ends up being akin to 'Stepford Wives'; among her very worst work.
Anne Heche is a favourite of mine (especially in 'Return to Paradise' and 'John Q'), but again, there is no room for her character to develop to a point where we can care. Her role is as an ex-lover of the dead husband, but unfortunately for Heche this secondary plot is barely developed or explained, rendering it yet another example of how it's almost impossible to emotionally invest in any of the film's characters.
Given the numerous flaws in the narrative, the naked bathtub scene between the two leads seems both unneccessary and quite frankly disturbing.
If you want to watch a convincing portrayal of a husband back from the dead to seek out his wife, watch the hugely underrated 'Chances Are' featuring a young Cybil Shepard and Robert Downey Jr. This comedy/drama is entirely more lighthearted, yet, ironically, it manages to portray the sadness and poignancy of the scenario to great effect, where 'Birth's' attempts to do this end in bleak failure.
Criticised last year in the U.S because of its sensitive nature, Birth is a tender, intense and sometimes gripping drama from director Jonathon Glazer.It tells the story of anna(kidman) who, ten years after her husbands death, is about to remarry (huston) but has a chance meeting with a ten year old boy who claims is her husband re-incarnate-at first anna shrugs off the statement as proposterous , but as the woman and boy become close, anna starts to doubt herself and her own beliefs. Birth is a subtle and convincing tale of a woman still grieving after 10 years and the film itself has some moments that perfectly capture the fragility of human emotion-superbly performed by the three leads and supporting cast of anne heche and lauren bacall,with an inspired score by alexandre desplat and truly gorgeous visuals filmed in and around new york, Birth is a genuinely engaging and beautiful film entirely un-deserved of any claims of 'in-decent material' as one american journalist said.
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Enigmatic psychological drama directed by Jonathan Glazer, starring Nicole Kidman as Anna, a wealthy widow in her mid-30s living in New York's Upper East Side. Anna is finally recovering after the death of her husband, Sean, and is coming to terms with her new life to the extent that she is now engaged to be married to a new man, Joseph (Danny Huston). But when she meets ten-year-old David (Cameron Bright), her life is thrown into disarray: the boy claims to be a reincarnation of her dead husband, and in her fragile and unsettled state Anna becomes increasingly obsessed by him - much to the concern of her fiancé and her mother, Eleanor (Lauren Bacall).
Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman stars in 'Birth' as Anna, 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 (Cameron Bright) 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 fiancée (Danny Huston), her increased contact with him leads her to question the choices she has made in her life... 'Birth', a dramatic mystery set in New York's Upper East Side, is directed by Jonathan Glazer, who burst on the scene with the acclaimed 'Sexy Beast'.