Birth

( 5 )

Overview

Jonathan Glazer's sophomore directorial effort, the measured psychological drama Birth, may have failed to catch on with audiences, but it is a memorable moviegoing experience thanks in large part to the way the director's visual skills were augmented by ace cinematographer Harris Savides. The DVD release of the film offers a pristine anamorphic widescreen transfer that captures as much of their powerful collaboration as could be expected. English soundtracks are rendered in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby ...
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Overview

Jonathan Glazer's sophomore directorial effort, the measured psychological drama Birth, may have failed to catch on with audiences, but it is a memorable moviegoing experience thanks in large part to the way the director's visual skills were augmented by ace cinematographer Harris Savides. The DVD release of the film offers a pristine anamorphic widescreen transfer that captures as much of their powerful collaboration as could be expected. English soundtracks are rendered in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital Surround. There are no supplemental materials of any consequence, but those with a taste for visually rich films should find this disc worthwhile.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Easily among 2004’s most provocative films, this emotionally charged melodrama initially sparked controversy for a daring scene in which leading lady Nicole Kidman climbed into a bathtub with an ostensibly naked ten-year-old boy. It’s a shame that the sequence attained so much notoriety, because aside from the fact that it’s tastefully done and entirely non-exploitive, it precisely speaks to the conundrum faced by Kidman’s character. She plays Anna, a widow of ten years finally about to move on with her life by marrying Joseph Danny Huston, a devoted if rather stolid man of means. While a birthday party is underway at the Manhattan apartment of Anna’s mother Lauren Bacall, a young boy named Sean shows up uninvited and claims to be the reincarnation of the widow’s long-dead husband. This is patently absurd, but when the lad reveals knowledge that only her former spouse could know, Anna gradually begins to believe. Director Jonathan Glazer Sexy Beast puts over this wildly improbable yarn by downplaying its most sensational elements. The widow’s family and friends don’t throw up their hands and gasp in amazement at first sight of the boy; they react as one might expect sophisticated urbanites to react, displaying a mixture of skepticism, tolerance, and, finally, impatience. Kidman conveys her character’s inner turmoil with remarkable expressiveness, especially in a wordless three-minute close-up during which the viewer can practically read the thoughts whirling through her head. She gives a remarkable performance, as does young Cameron Bright as Sean. Some might find the subject matter unsettling, and no doubt that’s just the reaction for which Glazer and the screenwriters hoped -- and if not for the first-rate staging and acting, the film easily would sink under the weight of its improbability. Their achievement, therefore, is quite impressive. Birth may or may not be a great film, but it’s certainly an unforgettable one.
All Movie Guide
Jonathan Glazer's follow-up to Sexy Beast, Birth is a gravely serious yet intensely absorbing look at a widow contemplating a relationship with a young boy, after he provides convincing proof he's her husband. The film would seem to have the makings of good controversy -- reincarnation, pedophilia -- but Birth failed to provoke, getting brushed aside as a "weird little mistake" seen by few. That's a shame, because it's a beautifully crafted film and a haunting consideration of its unusual subject. Nicole Kidman gives a daring, detailed performance, conveying deeply conflicted emotion through vacant stares that undergo minute shifts in accordance with her thoughts. She invites the audience into her shoes, asking what they'd do if confronted with the same evidence. Glazer gives Kidman room to explore through long and lingering takes, which reinforce the meditative pacing. Danny Huston is superlative as the fiancé unraveling under the weight of the boy's bizarre infiltration, and Anne Heche etches her own lasting impression as Kidman's former rival, gaunt and focused. But the performance that really drives the film, for better or worse, is that of ten-year-old Cameron Bright -- who played another child of uncommon birth, a clone, in Godsend, released just a few months earlier. Bright may have confused the two films, because he gives Sean the empty affect of a pod person; he's a catatonic stalker rather than a facsimile of Anna's former husband, whether or not that's the most effective incarnation for winning her back. Glazer's choice is redeemed through the coda, which -- while no less cleanly resolved than any other part of this uncomfortable story -- at least indicates some hope for these lost souls.
New York Times - A.O. Scott
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.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert

Because it is about adults who act like adults, who are skeptical and wary, it's all the creepier, especially since Cameron Bright is so effective as the uninflected and non-cute Sean. Like M. Night Shyamalan's best work, "Birth" works less with action than with implication.

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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/19/2005
  • UPC: 794043783821
  • Original Release: 2004
  • Rating:

  • Source: New Line Home Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:40:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 14,023

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nicole Kidman Anna
Cameron Bright Sean Conte
Danny Huston Joseph
Lauren Bacall Eleanor
Alison Elliott Laura
Arliss Howard Bob
Anne Heche Clara
Peter Stormare Clifford
Ted Levine Mr. Conte
Cara Seymour Mrs. Conte
Zoe Caldwell Mrs. Hill
Milo Addica Jimmy
Charles Goff Mr. Drummond
Novella Nelson Lee
Michael Desautels Sean
Scott Johnsen Caterer
Joe M. Chalmers Sinclair
Sheila Smith Mrs. Drummond
Mary Catherine Wright Young Woman
Elizabeth Greenberg Teacher
Tessa Auberjonois Woman in Lobby
Michael Joseph Cortese Jr. Patrick, Mini Bike Driver
John Robert Tramutola Stevie
Jordan Lage Peter
Margot Jewers Real Estate Agent
Matthew Giffuni Runner
Ian Hoffberg Runner
Laura Fallon Runner
John Juback Man in Lobby
Kavita R. Mangroo Woman at Counter
Alexandra K. Salo Woman at Party
Hollis Jones Bridesmaid, Woman at Party #2
Libby Skala Bridesmaid
Bruce Bennetis Wedding Photographer
Gregory Smith Photographer
T. Ryder Smith Waiter
Edward Bogdanowicz Cop #1
Jerry Fuentes Cop #2
Alexandre Desplat Conductor
Haberdasher Aske's Hatcham Singer
Technical Credits
Jonathan Glazer Director, Screenwriter
Milo Addica Screenwriter
Rob Albertell Asst. Director
Jonathan Arkin Art Director
Michael Barosky Sound Mixer
Paul Bucossi Stunts
Dylan Bucossi Stunts
Lynn Campbell Makeup
Jean-Claude Carrière Screenwriter
Alexandre Desplat Score Composer, Musical Arrangement
John Dunn Costumes/Costume Designer
Margie Durand Makeup
Roy Farfel Stunts
Lizie Gower Producer
Craig Haagensen Camera Operator
Don J. Hewitt Stunts
Avy Kaufman Casting
Bruce MacCallum Camera Operator
Xavier Marchand Executive Producer
Robert McCann Makeup
Nick Morris Producer
Kate Myers Associate Producer
Mark Ordesky Executive Producer
Kerry Orent Executive Producer
John M. Ottesen Special Effects
Ronald Ottesen Special Effects
Todd Pfeiffer Asst. Director
Jean-Louis Piel Producer
Peter Raeburn Musical Direction/Supervision
Harris Savides Cinematographer
Sam Sneade Editor
Kevin Thompson Production Designer
Claus Wehlisch Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Titles [4:24]
2. Ten Years Later [6:11]
3. Sean [6:16]
4. "He Said I Shouldn't Marry You" [3:35]
5. "Could It Be True?" [2:56]
6. "You're Hurting Me" [5:49]
7. "Your Stupid Son" [3:54]
8. The Park [3:03]
9. Testing Sean [4:41]
10. "No More Lying" [3:51]
11. Clara and Clifford [6:31]
12. Providing for Ana [5:24]
13. "I'm Looking at My Wife" [5:20]
14. "That's Not Sean" [5:25]
15. "Tell Sean to Go Home" [4:00]
16. "Everything Is All Right" [2:16]
17. "I'm Your Lover" [4:50]
18. "I Believe Him" [7:33]
19. Peace [2:49]
20. May [4:55]
21. End Credits [6:11]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Select a Scene
   Trailers
      Theatrical Trailer
      More From New Line
   Set Up Options
      Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
      Stereo Surround Sound
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Spanish
      Subtitles: Off
   DVD-ROM/Online Features
   New Line Logo (Credits)
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Deeply Disturbing...But Profoundly Moving

    I have just one criticism for this movie, so I'll get it over with first. The soundtrack (music) was just absolutely AWFUL. It was filled with all kinds of wierd electric harp music...just terrible, and it really took away from the magic of the movie. However, I guess you could say that the long periods of silence added to the power of the movie as well. Apart from that, this movie was really full of wonderful acting, and propelled by a series of stretched-out, but very powerful, scenes. One must have a great deal of patience to deal with it, but, all things considered, it really is wonderful

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    This movie has made a deep impression.

    "Birth" beautifully enraptures your soul. This movie gives a taste of hope for those of us that have lost a loved one. -The hope that one's soul doesn't cease to exist after death. -The hope that possibly we get more than one chance at life... That are souls continue to grow and learn through the phases of our different lives. I find this movie intriguing and comforting. It touches on taboo. But does it so tastefully that one can't be trully offended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Disappointing

    I am going to have to give up on anything that Nicole Kidman does. I just did not get into this movie.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    beautifully unsettling.....

    It reinforced my thoughts about reincarnation. A few scenes ( tastefully done ) I thought were necessity for carrying the movie through which almost reminded me of the daring scenes Kevin Bacon played in "The Woodsman". I think you have to go into this movie with an open mind and quite possibly a box of kleenex because the end ( I found at least ) is so very sad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews