Back Shelf Beauties
I think Nicole Kidman let the Lenny Kravitz lovin' distract her while reading the script for Birth. It's a horrendous movie with borderline child abuse, but she decided to star in it anyway.
Kidman stars as Anna - a widow moving on with her life ten years after her husband died. She's engaged to Joseph (Danny Huston), and celebrating at a party, when a 10-year old boy, Sean (Cameron "Godsend" Bright, proving he has a lock on stupid horror-like films starring Oscar winners), sneaks in to confront her, claiming to be her deceased husband. At first, this all appears to be a sick joke, but, Anna and others around her start to wonder if this boy could be telling the truth as they learn more about him.
Is Sean her reincarnated dead husband? How will Anna handle this?
Writer/director Jonathan Glazer has made one of the worst movies of the year, and has no one to blame but himself. With such a stellar cast including Kidman, the legendary Lauren Bacall, Anne "she's nuts but she can act" Heche and others, Glazer should be ashamed of how badly he did with this film. The story has potential to be creepy and shocking, but he avoids any twists and turns that could heighten the drama and draw us in, including one major opportunity which could have made all of us like the film, or accept the premise. Glazer has written a bare bones script with few details about Sean and Anna's marriage, few hints at events from the past that could make us believe the kid is telling the truth, and sparse dialogue that fails to reveal anything important. He's more interested in filming a gratuitous, clunky, bland sex scene between Kidman and Huston as well as a pair of shocking, unbelievably inappropriate scenes between Kidman and Bright.
I don't care what movie you are filming or what kind of impact you want to make on the audience, some acts and scenes are off limits, but Grazer ignores good taste to film two scenes that should have had the local police involved. First, Glazer has a scene where Anna TAKES A BATH with 10-year old Sean. Kidman looks very naked, we have to watch the little boy strip and I was ready to walk out when he climbed in the tub with her. If Nicole needs someone to take a bath with her, I volunteer. I might be willing to pay, or bring some sort of cheesecake treat, but doing this scene with a little 10-year old boy, even if it is a movie, is wrong.
Second, Glazer simulates an open mouth kiss between Anna and Sean. Why didn't Kidman throw a fit? Why didn't she refuse to film the scenes? She's a mother, doesn't she know better? If Glazer tried to do the same thing in his basement with a handheld video camera, the police would bust him. If he wants to shock us, if he wants to get a reaction from the audience, he should have written a better script instead of taking the cheap, talentless way out. On top of it all, Glazer doesn't know how to use his cast.
Every actor in Birth appears to be in some sort of emotional coma. If Glazer was working up to something or justified the unemotional performances with a good twist in the story, that might be cool, but he isn't good enough to pull off something like that. Instead, the audience is left to drift away into a nap as no one on the screen has a realistic reaction to any of the happenings in the movie. Then, Glazer gives us long camera shots and close ups of actors who should be reacting with their faces, but they don't do anything, so you get bored or agitated like when Anna is at the theater or the interminable opening sequence.
Due to the worst directing job I can remember, Birth is a perfect cure for insomnia. It is a flat, meaningless, waste of time of a movie, and the worst film I have ever seen Nicole Kidman do.
0 Waffles (Out Of 4)
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