Birth, starring Nicole Kidman, fails to deliver a cohesive movie to its audience. The idea is an interesting one and probably the reason most people watched the film. After losing her husband ten years ago, Anna (Kidman) plans to remarry. She begins to have doubts when a ten-year-old boy appears, claiming to be her dead husband. While this is a promising start to the movie, it quickly slows to an unbearable pace and at some points, nearly stops.
I had no idea where the filmmakers were going at the half-way point of the movie, and I have a sneaking suspicion they didn’t know either. The movie had no direction which confused and damaged scenes with Anna and Shawn (the boy) naked together which in turn made these scenes very uncomfortable. In a movie as bad as Birth showing children, especially in the nude, in a quasi sexual situation situation brings the movie to a grinding halt it never can recover from.
Spoliers: Once Anna was convinced Shawn was her husband reincarnated the film throws in an unsurprising twist, making an hour and twenty minutes of build up all for nothing. The very end spirals into discombobulated story, character, and visual direction, ending on an unsatisfactory note.
I can understand how Anna felt, and I even could believe that she would be convinced the ten year old boy was her husband, but what I can’t accept is Anna’s fiancÃ© both accepting her apology and taking her back all within a one minute period. She rambles on about how the whole event wasn’t her fault, and how she wanted to be happy. She basically apologized for nothing, and yet her fiancÃ©, who essentially played second fiddle to a ten year old boy for the whole movie, takes her back with no question, no concern. Perhaps it was the film’s attempt at showing the audience that he really loved her, but he came across more as a backup to Anna’s truly messed-up love life.
The film made heavy use of the “long shot”, painfully lingering on Nicole Kidman’s face for several minutes during a concert, or an extremely long zoom shot on Danny Huston, or a 5 minute opening sequence of someone jogging were just the highlights of the pace of the film. All of it was dull and hard to sit through. The music did not help either. At times it sounded like my subwoofer was broken, and other times it sounded like a cell phone set to vibrate.
When it comes down to it, the movie had almost nothing to say. There was no real conclusion, nor did you care about any of the characters or what happened to them. There is a point in the film where young Shawn climbs a tall tree and the person I was watching it with said, “Maybe he’ll jump.” Funny enough I was thinking the same thing.