Birth 2004 ★★★★★

One of the greatest studies of love and loss I have ever seen. There is a scene about 25 minutes into the film, where Kidman (playing Anna) and her fiancée are at the symphony, shortly after an encounter with the ten year old claiming to be her ten years dead husband. The music ebbs and swells as the camera stays fixated on Anna's face and does not move for around two minutes. We see disbelief, grief, love, and hope run through her over this two minutes and that beautiful scene really encompasses the entire film for me. At that point the film, and Kidman specifically, took hold of me and those hooks never left me until the final frame.

There is, seemingly, a lot of debate as to whether the boy was or was not Anna's dead husband Sean, and while I have my belief it ultimately, to me anyway, does not really matter. This film was about Anna's journey and all I truly cared about was her attempt to navigate through this confusing new world she was pulled into.

From a technical standpoint the film looked and sounded amazing and suited this world perfectly. Really an overall stunning piece of film-making.

12 Comments

  • Looks like some possible spoilers so I only skimmed, but just queued it up

  • Hmm, not too spoilery I don't think, but fair enough. Hope you like it;seems to be sort of a forgotten film, which is a real shame.

  • After reading the synopsis I see that you don't really give anything away. Maybe I'll do a double feature with the other Kidman movie you love

  • I knew Len would love this film. :-)
    Nicole Kidman was great as usual; in what I would think was a a very difficult role. The film would have been in big trouble without her name attatched!
    I would have preferred it with about 15 minutes taken off.

  • Heh, yeah Bill, it is definitely a film made for me. I can see finding it slow, but removing all of those long shots, with no dialogue, would take a lot of the impact away in my opinion.

    @Rick: that would be a pretty sweet double bill. Two very, very different films, but amazing performances from Kidman in both. Is she underrated now? People don't seem to like her much these days for whatever reason. I'm definitely a fan.

  • Loved this too! One of the best of last decade, for sure. Kidman is phenomenal and the direction is assured, cool and removed. Definite echoes of Kubrick, but also its own thing entirely. Nice review!

  • Yeah I felt some Kubrick in there myself, which is probably part of the reason I loved it so much. I was thinking it would be kind of to have a sequel where we see what happens when they are older. Birth 2: Afterbirth!

  • It's definitely a forgotten gem. Anyone out there who misses Kubrick, check this out and they'll feel somewhat comforted.

    And the score the score the score!

  • Yeah, the score is indeed brilliant. Sets the mood without being overwhelming. Just noticed it was Alexandre Desplat who has done some great stuff, but this one is particularly memorable.

  • I rewatched this one late last night Len. I think that full facial shot of Nicole was at least 2 minutes... but; you are absolutely correct; her portayed emotions were fantastic. I'm also now quite convinced after 3 viewings and listening carefully to all the "clues"; that the kid was just a disturbed, weird kid! He didn't know enough key facts for a reincarnation. You still have to give him credit as he got in a bathtub with Nicole! :-)
    Kidman is so good in these tough roles.

  • Hey, who wouldn't have gotten into that bathtub! She is indeed incredible here and I swear she does not get the credit she deserves. Once I an over this virus and can unpack all of my movies, I am going to fire up Dogville again because I truly fell in love with her in that role.

  • She was amazing in Dogville. I can't imagine anyone else doing that one. I believe that she turned down the opportunity to do a follow up.

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