Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|First Born |
Actors: Elisabeth Shue, Steven Mackintosh, Kathleen Chalfant, Khandi Alexander, Anne Wolf
Director: Isaac Webb
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Kids & Family, Mystery & Suspense
Laura soon discovers that she's pregnant, and after moving to the suburbs, she finds herself feeling alone, and increasingly isolated in their large, secluded home in the country. When the baby is born, it quickly becomes... more »
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MISLEADINGLY MARKETED...watch out!!
RMurray847 | Albuquerque, NM United States | 09/20/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"FIRST BORN is NOT a tale of the supernatural. If you want to hear more, I must warn you that much of the rest of this review could be considered a spoiler.
When you look at the box and read the description, it sounds for all the world like the film will be an old-school creepy horror movie. Haunted house kinda thing. It most emphatically is NOT.
This movie is an exploration of Post-Partum depression and Post-partum psychosis. It is told pretty much from the mother's (victim's) point of view and this makes it seem like a thriller or horror movie...because her perceptions are so whacked out. (It makes me a little sad to see some of the other reviews here talking about how frustrating a character Elizabeth Shue plays...the woman is suffering from a mental illness folks!)
From that regard, I suppose it is an unusual, and perhaps to a limited degree illuminating, movie. It is also VERY slowly paced, poorly cast and mostly unsatisfying. It is an hour-long episode of a cable TV show spread out over 90 minutes.
Years ago, Elizabeth Shue was nominated for an Oscar for LEAVING LAS VEGAS. Her work in that movie and just a few others WAS pretty good. But for the most part, she really isn't a good actress. Also, the script lets her down, because we never get to see her as a normal, nice person. She is moody and kinda unlikeable right from the start...so we aren't terribly invested in her story.
The other performers in the film are mostly dreadful. The British actor playing her husband is bland and the "faux Eastern European" actress playing the nanny is over the top...almost from a movie from the '30s or '40s.
The movie shows its low budget roots by having many scenes with supporting characters who don't speak. It's cheaper to pay an extra with no lines than a bit player with one line...so when Shue's character is giving birth...no one in the delivery room utters a line. I suppose some would argue that this contributes to understanding her feelings of isolation...but I found it unreasonably distracting.
It was a mildly interesting film...but not what we were expecting. If you want a straight exploration of one woman's unsettling descent into madness...you might like it okay. For me, I just sort of endured it so I could see what happened at the end. Not exactly a ringing endorsement."
A True Psychology Case Study
Kimberly Zajac | 06/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First Born is not your average scary, horror/thriller movie. It breaks from most movies of its genre in this way. The movie is very psychological in nature. The viewer sees things the way that one would imagine the main character is experiencing them. Everything is played out as being very real and not figments of one's imagination. At times, you can even feel the mother's scaredness. Other reviews have mentioned that the mother suffered from postpartum depression; however, in my opinion, a more accurate diagnosis would be postpartum psychosis as it appeared that she was more delusional than depressed.
The storyline had some holes in it (as do many movies of its genre),and the average thriller movie viewer might find it boring. Shortcomings aside, if you want a movie that makes you think and left wondering long after the end credits, then this is the movie for you."
Made me want to cry
Avid Amazon Buyer | 05/20/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The story is about a married couple that finds out the wife is pregnant. They move to a beautiful, spacious house away from the city. Things are going well, they are prepared for the baby to arrive. I thought it would be a great movie, however, it just seemed to drag. There were subtle hints of something, but I was unable to determine what. For example, the lady leaving the doll in the subway and the main character picking it up...I asked WHY? The dog, the mice, the weird nanny. It would have been a great movie but I just could not connect the dots. I was riveted to the screen, trying to figure out the why's, what's, who's. I never really felt like we got answers, even to the end.
I thought the ending was terrible. The story sort of led you to believe all this was a result of black magic, but I think maybe it was all about post-partum depression???
It will definitely have you guessing - even after the credits have rolled. Thumbs down.
EDIT: I have been thinking more about this movie and I may have more answers regarding questions and concerns I raised above. Warning: the following comment WILL contain spoilers. If you don't want to see it, I suggest you scroll away from this review.
The main character is a dancer who finds out she is pregnant. They move away from the city, away from her former life and work. On a deeper level maybe away from the instant approval of an audience clapping, saying good job?
She rides the subway and sees a woman with a baby. She looks away, looks back, and the woman is gone. But the lady leaves the baby. Oh no! How could a mom do that? Do moms do that? She gets up to retreive the child. Only the child is not real, it's a doll. Whew.
She 'rescues' the doll, but I now wonder if she did so to practice? Like to say 'I'd never leave my baby' and will prove it by taking care of it.
I think the start of her breakdown was when their dog died. She had purchased rat poison to kill mice that is around the house. The dog was making too much noise while she was on the telephone so she put it in the basement. Dog got in the room with the poison and, well you know the rest.
While visiting the makeshift grave located in their yard, she spots the doll. The dog, liking to snatch anything, had taken it away and placed it in a spot away from the house. Seeing the doll, she goes and rescues it. While climbing out of the rocky area, her water breaks and she rushes to the hospital. Apparently there were complications and the result was her needing to have a CSection. I don't think this sat well with her because earlier she had expressed an interest in having a natural birth - no drugs. The surgery nixed that plan. One scene had her on the hospital table, attempting to look at what they were doing. Someone - possibly her other 'self' pulled her head back. I think this was a way to totally disconnect from the baby.
So with the dog dying (to which she felt responsible) to the CSection, I think she pretty much snapped. She doubted her ability as a mother, noone would listen to her about her fears and concerns and she pretty much split into two. Real became imaginary and imaginary became real to her.
She also seemed to have a compulsive personality. She purchased multiple pregnacy tests on one occasion, rat poison and hair dye. She was also rather forgetful.
But darn it that doll just kept coming back, appearing in the yard, on the dresser. Was it taunting her? Mocking her? An instrument of witchcraft? Well she was going to do something about that, once and for all!
The ending was a shocker and really shines a light on mental illness and post partum depression."
A real movie to pay attention to.
Sheree A. Albino | 10/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I rented this movie last nite. I won't go over all the details, because they've been beautifully commented in most of the other reviews. But, I ended up rewinding the last 5 minutes of the movie again, because the ending was unbelievably sad and realistic. It does its job to make the point clear, that mothers of newborns, really need to be watched and paid attention to. I think we all get too caught up with the stress of everyday life that we forget about the obvious signs of depression or worse. I think the most interesting part was that when she went into the baby's room at the last scene, she didn't even seem to "see" the baby. Her attention was sharply focused on the doll and the mistakes she made with it (leaving it on the lawn, in the pool, etc.). Unfortunately doll and baby had blended into each other. The awful mistakes she made with the baby (i.e., locked in the basement with baby upstairs helpless, leaving baby in carseat in car) were not separated anymore. Maybe in her mind, trying to dance again, was her mind's way of telling her to start over. Very sad, very depressing, but I guess it needed to be said. Elizabeth Shue proves again and again that she is a good actress. The actor who was her husband was not a believable match. There was nothing attractive about him. Not only his looks, but the very idea she'd be married to this kind of zero-personality snob, is a stretch. But.....it may be what the director wanted people to notice?"