Be careful what you wish for.
Running Time: 100 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15
Country: United States
In the first few seconds of Birth, a man asks himself the question of what he would do if his missus died, only for a bird to turn up the next day claiming in perfect English, mind – to be her. That one question sums up perfectly what this entire film is about. When reincarnation not only stares us in the face, but turns up in our bathrooms and climbs into the tub with us, do we believe in it? Or should we just concentrate on how a bird is able to hold a spoken conversation with us in the first place?
Its not a situation the majority of us are ever likely to have to deal with but, for Anna (Nicole Kidman), its a scenario which threatens to turn her entire life upside down. Her husband died from a heart-attack ten years ago, and shes spent the best part of that decade trying to move on with her life. Her best chance of doing so appears to be Joseph (Danny Huston), a city gent who, after several years of trying, has finally convinced her to take him as her second hubby.
Of course, poor ol Joe didnt bank on facing some stiff competition from a snot-nosed ten-year-old but thats exactly what happens when young Sean (Cameron Bright) turns up on the couples doorstep claiming to be hubby back from the dead. So, does she choose the fairly normal if slightly nerdy Joseph, or creepy kiddy-wink Sean? Lets face it, only one of them will let her play with his Lego.
While the issue of reincarnation is obviously the films main concern, youll be hard-pushed not to find yourself slightly sidetracked by the uncomfortable blossoming romance between grown woman and child. I couldnt help but feel that if this same story had been told using an adult male and ten-year old-girl, some of the scenes the film puts us through would spark public outrage.
That, however, wasnt my main problem with Birth. The actings good, the directions good, but at the end of it all I just didnt buy the storyline. Everything is wrapped up far too easily at the end, leaving behind a string of plot-holes which make less and less sense the more you think about them. And, for all Ive said in past reviews about Hollywood nowadays being far too obsessed with having to add a twist to every tale, its exactly what this particular film could have done with.
It's Got: Squirrels in the woods. Look out for them.
It Needs: To have concentrated harder on bringing us a conclusion that works, or at least surprises.
Alternatives:Heaven Can Wait
A prime example of how impressive acting and wonderful direction can be wasted on an implausible and slightly-tasteless story.