User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 68 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 68
  2. Negative: 22 out of 68

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  1. May 24, 2013
    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.
  2. May 22, 2012
    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.
  3. Apr 9, 2011
    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.
  4. Nov 18, 2010
    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.

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
    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.