Katherine L. from WEST BATH, ME Reviewed on 2/12/2011...
I love this movie for the amazing emotion that is betrayed. True love and grief shines through Nicole Kidman. It is so bittersweet and haunting and beautiful.
3 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Gloria T. (gloworm29) from NASHUA, NH Reviewed on 7/15/2009...
If there is an odor coming from your mailbox it means this DVD has arrived.
4 of 8 member(s) found this review helpful.
Sandra S. (ratracesandra) from CUMMING, GA Reviewed on 6/5/2009...
Found this to be an interesting movie. At the very least would be suspenseful...
0 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
Leora I. from CORNISH, ME Reviewed on 1/10/2009...
The movie is quite odd and pretty shoddy, assuming you're trying to take it seriously. It tried way too hard to be a "plot twist" kind of movie or one that you "have to think about" afterward and in the end, it just wasn't that impressive.
However! If you have the right sense of humor, this can be a hilarious one-time watch. The subject matter is so outrageous and the acting so serious that one can't help but laugh.
3 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
Johonna D. (jtdupris) from EAGLE BUTTE, SD Reviewed on 9/29/2008...
This movie was so slow I actually fast forwarded a few times and still NOTHING happened. Alot of staring with music building up to NOTHING! What a waste of a credit. Now I know why I never heard of it before. Definately a waste of my time and electricity.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Duane S. (superpoet) from FORT WORTH, TX Reviewed on 5/3/2008...
This was a psychological thriller, for sure! I really liked it! Nicole husband has died. The next year or so, a small boy tells her that HE is her husband, Sean. He goes through intense questioning from police and family. Nicole slowly unwinds emotionally. She has many one-on-one talks with the boy and the facts of her husband's life are retold by the boy. If I tell you more, I'll reveal the ending. It's really good and unsettling to say the least.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Noranne G. (spookiemagic) from LAS VEGAS, NV Reviewed on 11/28/2007...
Former Library Copy with stickers. Plays fine.
0 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
A most peculiar movie
GLBT | Illinois | 10/30/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very strange movie.
The plot is this: A young woman's husband dies. Ten years later, she's finally about to move on with her life and remarry, when suddenly a 10-year-old boy appears, insisting that he's her dead husband, reincarnated. At first, she and her family and her fiance all try to laugh it off, but this boy knows things about her that no one else could know and he's, well, he's strange. He doesn't act like a 10-year-old boy. And he wants his wife back.
So, first of all, you have this kind of uncomfortable plot with Nicole Kidman and a 10-year-old boy contemplating sex and stuff. Beyond that, the movie is kind of artsy. There are long, slow shots and a lot of the film is subtle. It's not at all predictable or formulaic, and I think that's made some audiences uncomfortable. Hell, I think the whole movie has made audiences uncomfortable. It's an uncomfortable movie.
It's also a very interesting one.
Watching "Birth," I was reminded of some of Stanley Kubrick's later movies. The acting is exceptional and the movie takes lots of chances. It never takes the easy route. So, for all of those reasons, I really found it interesting and worthwhile. There were a lot of great "moments" that have stayed with me.
But if you're a person who tends to prefer mainstream Hollywood movies, you are going to HATE this movie. Truly."
Minimalistic, Mysterious, and Elegant.
Jim Beam | Los Angeles, CA | 05/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is definitely different. Unlike many of the films made today, it doesn't think the viewer is stupid and everything needs to be explained down to every little last detail. By that alone, I find this film to be exceptional experience.
The premise, I have to admit, is quite extreme. A woman's life is turned upside down when a young boy shows up at her door, literally, and claims to be her first dead husband. She is only too eager to believe it is true.
However, I didn't find the story to be this films strength, but the emotion it was able to communicate through visuals and music. This film is shot quite beautifully. Rich colors, elegant set designs, dramatic lighting, grainy quality that evoke the memories of old film footages, they are all wonderful just to stare at. The music is also fantastic, doing a wonderful job complimenting the story and the scenery and not overpowering them, yet letting its presence be known.
What the visuals and the music achieve is evocation of feelings. Kind of feelings when one is watching an old 8mm footage. Feelings of memories. Sweetness, love, longing, bitterness, regret, hope, and such feelings that people dearly hold on to. I find this to be the strength of this movie and its approach totally refreshing. It doesn't explain or show or tell. It lets the viewer experience, through vision and sound.
Another factor that greatly contributes to this film's effectiveness is Nicole Kidman. Although I seldom find her acting to be of much notice, she was quite powerful in this film, allowing her expressions and gestures to communicate. One good example is the concert hall scene, just moments after she witnesses the boy, who claims to be her dead husband, collapse in shock. The camera remains focused on her, while the music plays in the background. She is shaken. Really shaken up. The boy has gotten to her. She might be starting to believe.
I have read some review that describe this scene as completely ludicrous, because camera remains on Nicole Kidman for so long and nothing happens. I disagree. Those who felt this scene ineffective neglected to appreciate her nervous expression, almost like that of a woman who got caught daydreaming being with another man, and the music, sound of brewing turmoil and passion.
If you are willing to engage the film, not wait to be engaged, then I think you will find this film to be quite different and memorable."
Audacious and intriguing
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 10/30/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It takes a lot of guts to make a "thinking movie," titillating the mind rather than bloodlust or hormones. And Jonathan Glazer takes a risk with "Birth," a bizarrely beautiful film about reincarnation and spiritual ties -- a risky maneuver, but one that pays off. The result is beautiful and strangely solemn.
A jogger named Sean dies in the park -- and a baby is born. Ten years later, the jogger's widow Anna (Nicole Kidman) is reluctantly celebrating her engagement to yuppie fiancee Joseph (Danny Huston). Suddenly a ten-year-old boy named Sean appears (Cameron Bright) and announces that he is Anna's husband, reincarnated into a boy's body.
At first, Joseph tells the kid he's wrong, and Anna brushes the kid off as a nasty prankster. But Sean knows intimate details about her marriage, and has a strange passion behind his claims. She begins to believe that he is telling the truth -- that he is her Sean, reborn. She reexamines her life and her future, as old wounds reopen and questions are raised.
A lot of fuss has been made over "Birth's" nude bath scene. Don't worry -- it's not sexual or prurient, but strange and almost surreal. It takes guts to include such a scene, even in a movie that is more about the spiritual than the physical. In a nutshell, it's a movie with heart (even if a logical brain is a little lacking)
And that scene aside, the movie is richly ambient, darkly beautiful, and raises an array of troubling questions. Is Sean really a reincarnation, or is he simply a young boy who worships a thirtysomething woman? Does Anna simply want to believe he is? And is spiritual love enough to conquer all? These questions, by the way, are left hanging in the air -- to do otherwise would seem almost silly.
The movie moves at a very, very slow pace -- it takes patience to fully absorb it. But the atmosphere is strangely dreamlike, slow and sensuous and almost outside real time. The outdoors is snowed over, and the interiors are beautiful and quiet. The final quarter is thought-provoking and open to interpretation, but does suffer from a rather unsatisfying feel.
Nicole Kidman does a magnificent job in this film. She takes the character of Anna and fills her with overwhelming emotion. In one powerful scene, she attends an opera with Joseph, and the camera lingers on her face and eyes; Kidman communicates silently everything Anna feels. Cameron Bright does a somewhat more spotty job -- with Kidman, he successfully comes across as a grave man-in-a-boy's-body. With anyone else, he just seems sullen. And Lauren Bacall gives a solid, sometimes funny performance as Anna's mom.
While it never entirely addresses its own issues, "Birth" is a magnificent, atmospheric film, with a spiritual twist. Ignore the controversy -- see "Birth" on its own considerable merits."
Tight script, sophisticated setting and remarkable acting.
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 05/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The plot of this 2004 film almost made me want to ignore it. But it stars Nicole Kidman who's one of the most versatile actors in the business and it's a low-budget independent film targeted at the art-house market.
The plot revolves around a young widow, Anna. Her husband has been dead for ten years and she is about to remarry. Her future husband, Danny Huston is deeply in love with her. Lauren Bacall is cast as Anna's mother and everyone is New York Penthouse wealthy. Suddenly, in the middle of the happy couple's joyous engagement party, a ten-year old boy appears. Later, he returns, claiming to be the reincarnation of Anna's dead husband. Cameron Bright is cast in this role and he seems so adult that it's hard to believe he's only ten years old.
From the very first scene I was hooked. The script is tight, the setting perfect and the background classical music a perfect complement to the mysterious goings on. Most of the characters are disbelieving. And they are annoyed that Anna can't stop thinking that the young boy is really her former husband. All the other characters are realists and honestly believe that the child is just making thing up. But how does he know all the intimate details of Anna's former marriage? And could it be Anne Heche, cast as a friend of Anna's with a secret of her own, who holds the key to the mystery?
The film moves fast and there is not a wasted word or an extra scene. And the acting is nothing short of remarkable. The appeal of this film to the general public is limited but I, personally, loved it. And I highly recommend it for sophisticated audiences only."
"So how is little Mr. Reincarnation enjoying his cake?"
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Memory, love, and loss are the themes of this troublingly beautiful film from Jonathan Glazer. At once, visionary and often disturbing, Birth asks lots of spiritual questions, but mysteriously, offers no easy answers. Nicole Kidman holds the threads of this daring, audacious, and gorgeous looking film together with a truly virtuoso, spellbinding and heartbreaking performance. Her portrayal of a sensitive, grieving young women who's life is turned up side down when she discovers that her dead husband is reincarnated in a ten-year-old boy, is a tour-de-force of acting, and proves yet again that she's currently the greatest actress of her generation.
Combining the brooding, gothic with the psychological thriller, Birth has a strange, multi-layered mood and that moves mellifluously, smoothly, and ambiguously forward. With symphonic confidence Glazer has created a story that explores more the emotional than the supernatural. The film opens with a runner suddenly collapsing beneath an underpass, as if caught in the darkness between two worlds. Suddenly the story jumps ten years into the future where Anna, (Kidman) a young, sensitive woman is preparing to marry. We soon discover that the man who collapsed was her husband Sean, but she is set to marry Joseph (Danny Huston). Joseph and Anna have been living in a vast and posh East Side apartment owned by Anna's mother, a rugged, controlling matriarch (played by a steely Lauren Bacall). On the night of Joseph and Anna's engagement party, a young boy (played by Cameron Bright) with a round, solemn face crashes the party and claims to be Sean. He pleads with Anna not to marry Joseph.
At first Anna and her family treat the young boy as a joke, and they do their best to discourage his advances by using both humor and pathos, and later hostility. Anna's mother humors him, while Joseph drifts from tight-jawed skepticism toward violent jealousy. But it is Anna's reaction to him that is most important: she gradually moves from annoyed skepticism to shock and disbelief, as she gradually begins to realize that perhaps he is Sean and begins to fall in love with him again. Nicole gives such a beautifully nuanced, performance, and with her hair cut short and dyed dark red, the director films her in long, silent close-ups that allow her to register large feelings with tiny gestures. In once scene, where Anna and Joseph attend the opera, the camera lingers on her face, catching every maddening distraction of a thought as it darts across her face while a jumble of conflicting emotions take hold of her. Anna is a woman who has pulled herself together after a traumatic loss but her grieving remains desperately incomplete and disconsolate.
The film has dark, somber yet gorgeous ambience, and the moody, lush score add to the agonizing melodrama of high privilege and repressed feeling. Anna is at first troubled by the boy, but at the same time she becomes terribly attracted to him even though she thinks he may just be a kid with some bizarre fantasies going on. Much has also been made of the nude bath scene between Anna and the boy, but the scene is far from sexual and never gratuitous, and it shows just how far Anna is willing to go - perhaps she's attracted to the same qualities in the boy that she saw in her husband. Birth is a terrific picture that takes serious cinematic risks and it is unafraid to explore the nature and, at times, terrible consequences of love and loss. The movie seriously questions the notion that perhaps the concept of loving whom you want is ultimately an unfeasible thing to preserve. Mike Leonard October 04. "