User Score
5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 71 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 71
  2. Negative: 22 out of 71
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  1. 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.
  2. RochelleN.
    Dec 3, 2005
    1
    I would have felt awful had I actually PAID to rent this movie. Luckily, it was a freebie. Unrealistic and boring and a lousy ending to boot. One of the worst movies I've ever seen.
  3. 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.
  4. BrandonM.
    Jun 4, 2005
    1
    My fiancee and I rented this film last night. We
  5. JackieC.
    Nov 5, 2004
    1
    I have never in my life ever felt like walking out during a movie, until seeing Birth. Worst movie I have ever sat through. Kept hoping it would get better, have a twist in the plot to make me feel it was worth spending my time and money on, but it never happened. I Was glad when it was over, my God what were they thinking when making this movie? The idea was great, and they could have I have never in my life ever felt like walking out during a movie, until seeing Birth. Worst movie I have ever sat through. Kept hoping it would get better, have a twist in the plot to make me feel it was worth spending my time and money on, but it never happened. I Was glad when it was over, my God what were they thinking when making this movie? The idea was great, and they could have made a great movie, but the script and placidness of the kid t was morbidly dull. Artsy you may say? Since when does Artsy have to be so boring? Did the actors actually read the script before deciding to do this film? It was two hours too long! It was unbelievable, laughable and tasteless! The one star I give it is for the first 10 minutes and the idea of the film only. Collapse
  6. GordonS.
    Jun 3, 2005
    1
    Almost as bad as Primer. Not quite. Kidman should hire someone to screen her scripts before signing on for the movie.
  7. ChadS.
    Nov 3, 2004
    8
    From its opening scene, which seems to be quoting Bela Tarr's "Werckmeister Harmonies", "Birth" just might cast a spell on you, that is, if you believe the art house flourishes are justifiable, and not pretentious. Nicole Kidman, best known for her work in "Moulin Rouge" and "The Hours", is much more interesting here- who apparently hasn't got Lars Von Trier out of her system- From its opening scene, which seems to be quoting Bela Tarr's "Werckmeister Harmonies", "Birth" just might cast a spell on you, that is, if you believe the art house flourishes are justifiable, and not pretentious. Nicole Kidman, best known for her work in "Moulin Rouge" and "The Hours", is much more interesting here- who apparently hasn't got Lars Von Trier out of her system- and in the underrated "Birthday Girl". Kidman does her best work when she's trying to save a movie. Her scenes with the kid are provocative because Anna isn't insane. The closed ending might be more ambiguous than it appears. "Birth" takes chances. It's amazing how the circumstances behind Anna's tentative bids at intimacy with this minor, protects her from being a child molester. Expand
  8. LoisS.
    Mar 16, 2005
    9
    Birth is by no means for everyone, but for anyone that enjoys a well-made, highly nuanced film-going experience. This film works because it shows how normal people would deal in such an odd situation -- they're confused, skeptical, and irrational. The script is sparse, but the imagery, score and outstanding acting (from Kidman, especially) make up for what hudreds of pages could have Birth is by no means for everyone, but for anyone that enjoys a well-made, highly nuanced film-going experience. This film works because it shows how normal people would deal in such an odd situation -- they're confused, skeptical, and irrational. The script is sparse, but the imagery, score and outstanding acting (from Kidman, especially) make up for what hudreds of pages could have said. One of the best of 2004. Expand
  9. MarinaA.
    Apr 28, 2005
    8
    Yes, I was disappointed with the holes in the script, the ending, and parts of the some-times too-long cinematic shots. However, I do have to give credit where credit is due. The creators of Birth tackled a subject not too many people might be willing to deal with, in today's film industry. Dead husband comes back as a ten year old boy who tries to win back his wife? Maybe Oscar Yes, I was disappointed with the holes in the script, the ending, and parts of the some-times too-long cinematic shots. However, I do have to give credit where credit is due. The creators of Birth tackled a subject not too many people might be willing to deal with, in today's film industry. Dead husband comes back as a ten year old boy who tries to win back his wife? Maybe Oscar material, but not a blockbuster. Would you put your millions into it? Although I think this kind of story is more than appealing to a certain crowd, unfortunately, I beleive its creators wound up trying too hard to accomodate 'the masses'. Making the commitment to give a definite answer at the end, or to tie up loose ends and really see where the film could take you, would have been the financially unsound but cinematically brilliant thing to do. In 'real life' it is illegal for a woman of Anna's age and a ten year old boy to kiss, or do anything sexual. But preverse as it may sound, THAT was the very thing that drove this movie. The underlying engine that drove us around the concept of reincarnation and true love and the unknown. Complicated subject matter. Too complicated to try to be politically correct. A film does not need extraordinary mass-appeal to BE extraordinary. But it does need to be true to itself. The creators held back. And I truly believe that if they hadn't, this film would have been an all-time classic. I believe the film industry is responsible for robbing us of phenomenal movies every day and, unfortunately, Birth was just another casualty of war. Expand
  10. Peg~
    May 28, 2005
    6
    I thought both Nicole Kidman, and the child actor, were brilliant. Their acting was outstanding. But I think that the story was horrible, in the sense that it was clear Nicole's fiance was a creep, and if anything, I would have been happy if the kid just became temporarily possessed with the soul of the dead husband for one purpose: preventing Nicole from marrying the creep. Or, if I thought both Nicole Kidman, and the child actor, were brilliant. Their acting was outstanding. But I think that the story was horrible, in the sense that it was clear Nicole's fiance was a creep, and if anything, I would have been happy if the kid just became temporarily possessed with the soul of the dead husband for one purpose: preventing Nicole from marrying the creep. Or, if at the end, the kid made Nicole's character become disenchanted with him to spare her from ruining her life, or from causing her anymore suffering. Whether or not this was a factor, was not clear. But my question, was the kid just obsessed and deranged (causing Nicole's character to become unstable), or was he the dead husband born again? Lastly, I did not see this movie as a child molestation. Nicole's character did not seek out this child to molest. The child pursued her, claiming to be her dead husband, and as time went on, she became worn down (hence her idea to run away with him and marry him when he became an adult). But this is not the same thing as the sick compulsion that causes predatory adults to prey upon innocent children to gratify their sexual needs. In fact, I don't think sex had anything to do with this movie. Basically, it was about love-- Expand
  11. SebastianL.
    Jun 30, 2005
    10
    One of the best pictures of the 2004, with outstanding performances from Nicole Kidman and Cameron Bright.
  12. GaryP
    Jun 6, 2005
    0
    Absolutely awful. Like others I was drawn in by the film's premiss, but it is a bg let down on every single level from direction, via script right through to the terrible acting. Please avoid.
  13. MelissaH
    Jul 10, 2005
    10
    Beautiful and spellbinding. I am absolutely shocked at some of the low reviews from both critics and metacritic users. I thought the film was completely fantastic.
  14. ScottP
    Sep 30, 2005
    9
    The poor reviews on here shouldn't surprise anyone nor should they discourage you seeing this stunning film. Anything worth seeing divides audiences into those who love it and those who hate it. It's clear that most of the negative reivews come from those who found it "pretentious" and completely missed what makes it great. Be sure to see it for yourself.
  15. 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
    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.
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  16. WilF.
    Nov 2, 2004
    0
    This has got to be the worst movie ever created. The scenes are so slow. The initial scene in the part lasted forever, the scene of Nicole Kidman sitting at the concert, watching Nicole Kidman and Lauren Bacall eating, waiting for a line. It was if they didn't write enough lines so needed to fill airtime. I nearly walked out after 15 minutes, but suffered through it. My only regret This has got to be the worst movie ever created. The scenes are so slow. The initial scene in the part lasted forever, the scene of Nicole Kidman sitting at the concert, watching Nicole Kidman and Lauren Bacall eating, waiting for a line. It was if they didn't write enough lines so needed to fill airtime. I nearly walked out after 15 minutes, but suffered through it. My only regret was wasting the time to see it. Expand
  17. HenryL.
    Nov 4, 2004
    9
    This is nicole kidman best work.
  18. CarolineE.
    Dec 3, 2004
    8
    Misbegotten in some ways, yes. Slow, no question. But the level of talent on the screen is very high & the movie is unlike anything else onscreen. Unusual & gripping, with an affecting performance by Nicole Kidman.
  19. CharlieB
    Oct 28, 2004
    1
    Beyond amateurish.
  20. PaulF.
    Jan 24, 2005
    9
    If you have the abilty to see nuance and enjoy subtlity then this movie could be for you. You also need to be open to the idea of reincarnation. If you aren't it will be hard to suspend belief as to which is really true, young Seans illusion or the possibilty that he is who he says he is, Nicole Kidmans wife, lucky little guy. Also you need to be able not to get too freaked out about If you have the abilty to see nuance and enjoy subtlity then this movie could be for you. You also need to be open to the idea of reincarnation. If you aren't it will be hard to suspend belief as to which is really true, young Seans illusion or the possibilty that he is who he says he is, Nicole Kidmans wife, lucky little guy. Also you need to be able not to get too freaked out about the child adult sexual tensions. Artisticaly they work and are not over done, but I could see some people freak out over it. Over all this was a great movie even though slow and understated. But those are the beautiful points to the movie. So much was told in the faces and actions of the actors that words would only have cheapened. Kudos for them for being able to convey it. Personally this movie moved me. It spoke true on a psychological as well as a possible metaphysical levels. If you loved to be provoked to think in a deep but quite ways then this film is for you. Expand
  21. michaelh.
    Mar 5, 2005
    8
    A very fine movie. It just happens what it has to happen. All the way.
  22. markw.
    May 12, 2005
    2
    Wow this was a realy bad story line. Bad start ok midle realy bad end. Not worth my time.
  23. ClayH
    May 21, 2005
    2
    Of course there's great acting from Nicole Kidman. The subject matter is intriguing. But the boy barely speaks above a whisper throughout EVERY SCENE! And I draw the line when it comes to pedophilia. If this was a story about a 30+ year old man falling in love with a ten year old girl no one would tolerate this movie. Anyone who gives this movie a high rating should seriously check Of course there's great acting from Nicole Kidman. The subject matter is intriguing. But the boy barely speaks above a whisper throughout EVERY SCENE! And I draw the line when it comes to pedophilia. If this was a story about a 30+ year old man falling in love with a ten year old girl no one would tolerate this movie. Anyone who gives this movie a high rating should seriously check their morals. Expand
  24. kevin
    Jul 24, 2005
    4
    I was expecting a lot from this movie. great performances and some good moments, but in the end nothing was really answered. i thought it came off trying to hard to be artsy. the bathtub scenes made me cringe.
  25. DonaldR.
    Aug 16, 2005
    4
    Basically this film tries to be challenging and artistic but the plot is too crude and full of apparent holes, so it comes off as highly pretentious. This is high brow for low brows. It is slightly offensive that it seems to play with the possibility of paedophilia in a way that is unecessary to the plot. The basic concept is inherently anti-climactic. So the end of the film seems Basically this film tries to be challenging and artistic but the plot is too crude and full of apparent holes, so it comes off as highly pretentious. This is high brow for low brows. It is slightly offensive that it seems to play with the possibility of paedophilia in a way that is unecessary to the plot. The basic concept is inherently anti-climactic. So the end of the film seems incoherent and disappointing. Expand
  26. DavidG
    Nov 12, 2004
    6
    A clever fragment, with good performances, and a brooding sadness to it, permeating every character.
  27. VinceH.
    Nov 8, 2004
    8
    People seem to be completely either misunderstanding this film or just hating it because it didn't deliver the multiplex entertainment they were expecting. I agree mostly with the Village Voice review. As a visual experience, this is one of the best of the year. Story however is a different matter. First of all, Jonathan Glazer is a GREAT filmmaker who goes way beyond here in every People seem to be completely either misunderstanding this film or just hating it because it didn't deliver the multiplex entertainment they were expecting. I agree mostly with the Village Voice review. As a visual experience, this is one of the best of the year. Story however is a different matter. First of all, Jonathan Glazer is a GREAT filmmaker who goes way beyond here in every way from his debut, "Sexy Beast". The opening scene is virtuoso and the best tracking shot on film since the ending of "Japon". The shot of Nicole Kidman's face that lasts almost for 3 minutes is a lesson in filmmaking that tells emotion purely through visual/audio means. In fact throughout the whole film the use of music and its relation to the film (the score ominously plays over scenes and other times orchestral classical blares loudly when unexpected) is brilliant and very Kubrickian. The whole movie has an unearthly and mystical feel. The interiors are bathed in a dense, orange-green haze and the outside is crisp and clean and open. The fantastic visuals can of course be mostly accredited to the great Harris Savides (the true heir to Vilmos Zsigmond). Overall this film was much better than I anticipated and it is refershing to see an American studio financing such a daring, almost avante-garde film. Also, with this film and "Dogville", when is the last time an actress has made two films of that caliber in one year? Give Kidman the Oscar dammit! Expand
  28. 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.
  29. DonH
    May 17, 2005
    5
    Wow, this movie could have been great. The acting was A+. Nicole Kidman and Cameron Bright really gave great performances. That's why I gave it a 5 instead of a 0, because the script wasn't well thought out and the ending was just horrid. 5 for the great acting 0 for the lousy script.
  30. warren
    May 21, 2005
    0
    Worst movie ever made. No script, stunningly bad!
  31. stephanie
    May 29, 2005
    2
    Ahlthough there were a few moments of interest ... there were so many gaping holes that the overall impression is one of a film that went nowhere, When Ann Heche hides the love letters, we later learn that sean must have dug them up... however when Ann tries to recover them, she shows up at the apartment with dirty hands & sean takes her to wash up ... she tells sean she has moved, gives Ahlthough there were a few moments of interest ... there were so many gaping holes that the overall impression is one of a film that went nowhere, When Ann Heche hides the love letters, we later learn that sean must have dug them up... however when Ann tries to recover them, she shows up at the apartment with dirty hands & sean takes her to wash up ... she tells sean she has moved, gives him her new number & he tells her NOT to tell Ann. Doesn't that imply that Heche believes he IS Sean? However later she reveals that he couldn't be Sean because he didn't know she was his lover. And why does the director bother showing us sean's birth immediately following Sean's death, only to later renig on this? And personally I am SO tired of extreme closeups in which we are forced to stare at Nicole Kidman's face (albeit beautiful) for extended periods of time. Yes... she can be a great actress, however we are too often left admiring her beauty rather than appreciating her talent. AND ... in one sequence where her face does convey emotion... and that emotion is horror and disgust... (seeing her fiance Joseph lose control and become violent toward the boy?) but Then ... later she seems to forget this and askes his forgiveness for her behavior! Is that who she wants to spend the rest of her life with? Have chidren with? That felt extremely false to me! Expand
  32. BrandonB.
    Aug 14, 2005
    1
    Nicole and Cameron are the only reasons to merit this film with a one score. The awful piece of "film" (use the term loosely) should be used as direction in what not to do in a movie. From the slowest "artsy" scenes to the story line that even the director didn't know this film seems to be an idiot's partial escape to intelligence. Not to mention the music is way off for this Nicole and Cameron are the only reasons to merit this film with a one score. The awful piece of "film" (use the term loosely) should be used as direction in what not to do in a movie. From the slowest "artsy" scenes to the story line that even the director didn't know this film seems to be an idiot's partial escape to intelligence. Not to mention the music is way off for this type of film. If you must rent it, but be prepared to be angered during and at the end of this film. The only people who like this film are people trying to seem intelligent. Expand
  33. Michael
    Sep 23, 2005
    10
    Absolutely loved this film. I think it's a masterpiece. Can't understand the bad reviews here.
  34. NathanB.
    Nov 22, 2004
    3
    I don?t know if I should to commend these filmmakers on trying to tackle a difficult premise, or to make fun of them for doing so. Reincarnation of dead spouses is something that I hadn?t yet seen on the big screen; it involves more than just fancy filming. It seems as if the story holes are unrepairable here. By the end they were just praying I wouldn?t remember what happened near the I don?t know if I should to commend these filmmakers on trying to tackle a difficult premise, or to make fun of them for doing so. Reincarnation of dead spouses is something that I hadn?t yet seen on the big screen; it involves more than just fancy filming. It seems as if the story holes are unrepairable here. By the end they were just praying I wouldn?t remember what happened near the beginning; I know they released it for Megaplex audiences, but give us some credit?we can think too. Although Nicole Kidman is back at the top after the embarrassment of Stepford Wives, even she could save it. It remained as distant as the premise itself, leaving the audience far from the story, even though I wanted to be a part of it. The filming was remarkable, with long takes that added as much depth as possible, backed by a large scale score that was at times overbearing. I specifically loved the beginning scene in Central Park and the scene in the theater. But the feeling was cold and calloused throughout, due to the great cinematography. But even though all this, the holes were wide. I also didn?t appreciate the ending to this movie. I felt as if I were jerked around in the last 5 minutes with a ?and they lived happily ever after, oh no?I guess not?yep, she?s crazy.? Expand
  35. Philj
    Nov 12, 2005
    10
    This is the most underrated film of 2004. Thought provoking and mesmerizing. Go see it now.
  36. Nov 18, 2010
    7
    I find the the 1/10 ratings curious as I consider this movie effective, well-done and even haunting at times. Blockbuster? Certainly not. Sluggish at times? Naturally. But if you want to have a film stay with you for a few days, watch Birth.
  37. Apr 9, 2011
    9
    I think this film is severely misunderstood. It's one of the most mesmerizing films I've seen, but that's not to say it doesn't have its flaws. It's far from perfect, but it's as close to bold filmmaking as anyone can get.
    Director Jonathan Glazer's first film, "Sexy Beast", is one of the most underrated films of the aughts, and unfortunately, his sophomore effort "Birth" falls into the
    I think this film is severely misunderstood. It's one of the most mesmerizing films I've seen, but that's not to say it doesn't have its flaws. It's far from perfect, but it's as close to bold filmmaking as anyone can get.
    Director Jonathan Glazer's first film, "Sexy Beast", is one of the most underrated films of the aughts, and unfortunately, his sophomore effort "Birth" falls into the same category. I think it's a wonderful film and a true hidden gem. It's soft and simple with a fantastically nuanced performance from Nicole Kidman. The scene at the opera is what great acting is all about. Beautifully shot and featuring one of my all-time favourite musical scores by Alexandre Desplat, "Birth" is a gorgeous film to watch, but at times very unnerving.
    Savides' subtle direction adds greatly to the film's mystery leaving us with much more ambiguity than this film has been given credit for (just in different areas). I'll never understand why "Birth" has garnered such hateful reviews, but I guess to each his own. I just happen to fall on the side of the field that thinks this is a wonderful tale of spiritual mystery that presents true human reaction to a situation that could easily have unfolded to become a corny work of science-fiction.
    Definitely Grade-A stuff.
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  38. May 24, 2013
    1
    Anna, a young widow, is trying to move on with her life after the death of her husband. Engaged to be married, Anna meets a ten year-old boy who tells her he is her husband reincarnated. Though his story at first seems absurd, Anna can't get the boy out of her mind and slowly starts to form a relationship with him.
    Birth is truly one of the dullest films I have ever watched. Every scene
    Anna, a young widow, is trying to move on with her life after the death of her husband. Engaged to be married, Anna meets a ten year-old boy who tells her he is her husband reincarnated. Though his story at first seems absurd, Anna can't get the boy out of her mind and slowly starts to form a relationship with him.
    Birth is truly one of the dullest films I have ever watched. Every scene drags on for far longer than is necessary, often failing to move the story along in any meaningful way. I just about managed to stick it out to the end hoping for an interesting explanation as to the events taking place but was denied even this with a finale that fails to explain a number of factors.

    This is one to avoid.
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  39. 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.
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Metascore
50

Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 38
  2. Negative: 11 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Ray Bennett
    30
    A paranormal mystery without a spine. It has no suspense because it has no belief in itself.
  2. 60
    If Birth succeeds more as a source of visual and aural enthrallment than as supernatural narrative, it's largely because the final third hovers uncomfortably between the mystical and the earthbound.
  3. 40
    The ick-factor deepens as the story progresses, but the mystery never does.