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Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics What's this?

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5.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 68 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: A metaphysical love story that explores the space between what we know and what we feel. Like many fairy tales, Birth is part romance, part mystery, and part family drama - woven into a magical whole about love, mortality and the unknown. [New Line Cinema]
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 38
  2. Negative: 11 out of 38
  1. The eerie tale is steeped in brooding atmosphere and psychological suspense thanks to Glazer's hugely imaginative visual style and creative use of music, sound, and silence.
  2. Without Ms. Kidman's brilliantly nuanced performance, Birth might feel arch, chilly and a little sadistic, but she gives herself so completely to the role that the film becomes both spellbinding and heartbreaking, a delicate chamber piece with the large, troubled heart of an opera.
  3. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    Birth presents an intriguing premise about death and the possibility of rebirth in an elegant, melancholy and deliberate fashion.
  4. 50
    A little like the '80s crowd-pleaser "Ghost," but way artier.
  5. 50
    Kidman gives an other stunning performance in Birth, but it is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma that ultimately reveals . . . not much.
  6. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    38
    Such a meticulously wrought piece of hokum that it's both easy to admire and impossible to warm up to.
  7. Birth is one of those films occasionally encountered that make me question my nativity or that of the film-makers. Were they and I born on the same planet? If so, how could we now have such vastly different criteria of a film story's believability?

See all 38 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 39
  2. Negative: 15 out of 39
  1. Michael
    Sep 23, 2005
    10
    Absolutely loved this film. I think it's a masterpiece. Can't understand the bad reviews here.
  2. Philj
    Nov 12, 2005
    10
    This is the most underrated film of 2004. Thought provoking and mesmerizing. Go see it now.
  3. MaxB.
    Jun 1, 2006
    10
    This film is amazing. It astonishes me to see how many negative reviews completely fail to even acknowledge, for example, the numerous references to various works by Kubrick. Sure, it's artsy, but it's perfectly constructed, tenaciously though-provoking, and gloriously beautiful to sit through, visually, aurally, and intellectually. It's just magnificent. Expand
  4. AlexJ.
    Jun 16, 2006
    6
    The film raises interesting questions about the nature of romantic love--
    [***SPOILERS***] why is it that that Nicole Kidman's
    character seems so easily to succumb to the rather incredible notion that a 10 year old boy could be her dead husband? The movie seems to answer this by showing that her emotions could be explained psychologically-- she isn't in love with her new fiance, she has not moved past her grief and love for her dead husband. Yet the film also seems to want to leave these questions murky and un-resolved, in order to heighten the mystery-- maybe the boy really is her dead husband, after all? The film has a certain gravity, is visually memorable and Kidman is luminous and beautiful, really giving herself over to the role. But the lack of resolution of the story, characters that act quite absurdly and the portrayal by the young actor as the "dead husband" leave one feeling unsatisfied. The boy says nothing that would make him to appear to be really the dead husband. So I prefer the pyschological explanation, and think that the film would have been much more effective if it had gone all the way with showing what motivated both the boy and Nicole Kidman's character. Expand
  5. BobA.
    Jan 17, 2006
    5
    Wonderfully directed and beatifully acted, (especially by Kidman), the plot, which wants to be a sort of understated thriller, never quite hits the right notes. Expand
  6. May 22, 2012
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I loved Sexy Beast, Jonathan Glazer's first movie, and really wanted to like this, but was unable to. It has absolutely no sense of narrative drive. The story lies there like a stillborn baby. The main problem is that you have an overly tame performance from child actor Cameron Bright in a role that requires a lot of strength of will and charm. If we are going to root for this young child as the reincarnation of Nicole Kidman's dead husband, he has to come with more than facts about the guy's life. He has to, in some way, be the guy, or there is no romance. Bright manages to not crack a smile or have any discernible emotion for the entire movie. And if we were not supposed to root for this child, then who should we root for? Certainly not Kidman's husband played by Danny Huston with cold, upper class detachment. We are really just left to wish that her husband, who we've never seen, had never died. Until we discover he was cheating on her, which leaves us thinking that Kidman should stay away from men for a while. This could have been a very fun and daring movie had they somehow gotten Bright to resemble a savvy adult who could charm Nicole Kidman's pants off. That's a tall order, but this premise really calls for it. Or else we are left with just feeling a constant sense of dread. Kidman will either wind up with a young boy who seems to have no feelings or a rich man angling for a trophy wife. In the end we are left feeling she would be better off without either of them. We are also left without any real explanation as to how and why this young child knew all these facts about Kidman's deceased husband. I may be missing some subtle hint here, apologies if I am, but the details around the child's knowledge of Dead Sean's life seem purposefully ambiguous to the point of laziness. The movie feels lazy in other ways too. The laziest moment takes place in and around a bathtub. Kidman has been convinced by Young Sean's very detailed list of facts about her husband's life, personal and otherwise, and she finally asks the boy to run away with her. The young boy, who is taking a bath, says 'I'm not Sean' and instantly Kidman believes him. No questions as to how he knew everything he knew. No questions as to his motivation. No clinging to the belief that this must still be her dead husband. Instead she declares 'you're a little liar' and 'you certainly had me fooled, I thought you were my dead husband'. That's a pretty sharp turn to take off 'I'm not Sean'. What if he was just kidding? Forgetting the unfulfilled and implausible story, Nicole Kidman does a bang up job. It's easy to forget for a moment that you're watching a movie that makes no sense, and get caught up in her committed and heartfelt performance. If this story had given her character an even moderately fulfilling arc or sense of growth, she would have been able to carry this movie on her back and run it into the end zone. But as it stands her character goes from missing her husband and not liking the guy she's marrying to missing her husband and not liking the guy she's marrying.

    In the end, this makes me appreciate that Sexy Beast was a collaborative effort, and that its screenwriters knew what they were doing. Here Glazer just doesn't have a good enough story to dazzle us again.
    Expand
  7. ScottY.
    Oct 14, 2005
    1
    Acting? It's mostly people staring off into the camera for minutes at a time. There has to be about 10 pages of dialogue in the entire script. It's a weird movie, I can't imagine why this had to be made. Expand

See all 39 User Reviews

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