Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog


Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on August 22, 2011 at 4:10 PM

BIRTH   ***

Jonathan Glazer


IDEA:   A woman about to remarry 10 years after the death of her husband is confronted by a 10-year-old boy claiming to be that man.

BLURB:   Birth, in art and literature, is a symbol for fertility, hope, and newness, the process of first life. In Jonathan Glazer’s chilly, chilling, sometimes portentous film, however, the act brings about anything but. In its place is unresolved grief manifested in the possible reincarnation of a past life, come to magnify despair and elucidate a tragic inability to start anew. We never really know who we’re supposed to believe in this tale, and the sketchy screenplay doesn’t always seem to know where it wants to go either. But for all its vagueness and obscurity, the film’s psychological and metaphysical implications linger, lucidly and unsettlingly. Much of this needs to be attributed to Nicole Kidman’s pitch-perfect performance. With quiet restraint, she convincingly lets us in to the frail heart of a woman still hopelessly attached to a love she can’t have back, and perhaps never even had. If anyone needs to be reborn, it’s her.

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