Birth

Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Cameron Bright, Danny Huston, Lauren Bacall, Alison Elliot
Director: Jonathan Glazer

Grief is similar to love in that it can make you do the most outrageous unexpected things just like love can.

Anna (Nicole Kidman) is an average young woman who apparently has everything going for her. She’s engaged to a handsome young man (Danny Huston) and she lives in an affluent neighbourhood. Yes, it all seems to be a perfect life for Anna until Sean (Cameron Bright), a 10 year-old boy, turns up at her flat claiming to be her husband who has been dead for the past 10 years. Anna initially brushes it all aside and merely wants the boy to stop bothering her, but as he persists she starts to think about her dead husband all over again and she finds herself drawn to the young boy. As she begins to see more and more of the young boy and he starts to reveal certain intimate details of her relationship with her late husband, she starts to be convinced and indeed hope that he is actually her husband.

Anna’s mother (Lauren Bacall) is totally against the whole thing and she tries to get Anna to stop seeing the young boy, as indeed so does Anna’s fiance who in one memorable scene loses his restraint and spanks the little boy. As Anna gets drawn more and more into the situation she decides to approach her late husband’s best friend (Peter Stormare) and his partner (Anne Heche) to ask them to talk to the boy for her. It soon becomes clear just how much grief Anna has been bottling up inside herself for her late love and she finds herself so convinced that the boy is her husband that she totally refuses to stop seeing him. An encounter between the boy and a woman claiming to be Anna’s late husband’s true love causes the boy to realise that he isn’t who he thought he was and this revelation crushes Anna even more.

Director Jonathan Glazer starts off the film with an excellent shot of a lone jogger running in a park with snow gently falling followed by a shot of the runner suddenly stopping and then dropping to the ground. The idea of possible reincarnation or something close to it is slightly hinted at in the beginning of this film, but it soon shifts gear and becomes a delicate study of grief.

Nicole Kidman excels in this role as she captures the vulnerability of a woman who has lost pretty much everything but is then given the possibility of getting it all back. Cameron Bright fresh from the set of GODSEND gives a great performance as the adamant young boy who is convinced that he is this poor woman’s dead husband and not just a young boy, as he tells his mother in one scene that he is no longer her stupid son. Supporting performances are all capably executed and Anne Heche stands out in an emotionally charged confrontation she has with the young boy.

All in all the film is an effective study of grief and the lengths that it can push you to but it tries to be more by adding the reincarnation issue but then abruptly ditching it.

Not particularly a date movie nor is it a thriller but it should keep die hard Nicole Kidman fans happy.

3 out of 6 stars

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