I just finished watching Nicole Kidman in the movie Birth.
It was such a great premise for a story it is too bad they made such a bad movie. Nicole Kidman plays a woman named Anna who is still in grief over the sudden death of her husband 10 years ago. The opening scenes sets this up in kind of a heavyhanded way. A ten year old boy shows up at her house in the middle of a dinner party and explains that he is the reincarnation of the dead husband. The rest of the movie is just about resolving that dilemma with a lot of bad acting and an intolerable script.
There was one scene where Anna and her family were sitting around the dinner table after the boy has explained to Anna that he is her dead husband. Everyone starts giggling. It seemed strangely out of tone. I mean a little boy walks into your house and solemnly explains that he is your dead husband, do you find this funny? My guess is there was some ridiculous dialogue for that scene but the actors just started laughing. Maybe they were working to rule and the director just left it in. That was such a weird scene. In another scene, Anna and her mother (Lauren Bacall) are visiting the hospital because Anna's sister has just had a baby. While looking at the newborn the mother says well maybe that's your dead husband too. It was the funniest line in a tedious movie but I'm guessing it was an ad-lib.
The dialogue was weird and everyone talked in slow motion like they were on heavy doses of Nembutol. I thought they were going for that minimalist Ingmar Bergmann type thing but it just seemed to stupid and self-ridiculing. At one point I realized I was'nt really listening to the dialogue anymore. I found myself interested in Nicole Kidman's subtle australian accent underneath her coached New York accent.
The movie reminded me of Rosemary's Baby, but only in look and feel. This was probably because of Nicole Kidman's short brown hair, her stylish wardrobes, the mysterious expressions on the old people's faces, and a lot of really evocative scenes of New York's Central Park in the fall or winter. The cinematography was the only thing I really liked about the movie. I could easily watch it again with the sound off.
In the end the premise falls apart because of Anne Heche. (How many times have you seen that line in a movie review.) The resolution of the conflict is completely implausible and in the last 15 minutes of the movie the writers and editors were probably going through pure hell wondering if they would ever work again.
Am I wrong to hate this movie?
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