• James Rutherford

‘Birth’: An Exquisite and Mesmerizing Human Drama About Rebirth and Reincarnation


Movie poster for the film Birth starring Nicole Kidman and Cameron Bright

“Birth” (2004) is a mesmerizing human drama starring Nicole Kidman as Anna, a New York socialite who still yearns for her deceased husband, Sean, ten years after his untimely death. Anna is therefore dismissive and dismayed when a 10 year-old boy, also named Sean, comes to her home one evening to inform her that he is, in fact, the reincarnation of her deceased beloved.


Young Sean (Cameron Bright) harbors detailed memories of his previous life with Anna, shocking Anna to the core, while his perceived antics infuriate Anna’s fiancé Joseph (Danny Huston). Joseph evolves from his initial state of whimsy to become increasingly apoplectic and volatile, as Young Sean continues to press upon Anna his unrelinquished adoration.


An emotionally dense, thoroughly absorbing affair, “Birth” follows the growing affinity between Anna and Young Sean, despite the overwhelming incongruity in their ages. The storylne progresses through myriad twists and emotional highpoints, before settling in a place of bittersweet ambiguity and heartfelt acquiescence.


Co-written and directed by cinematic maestro Jonathan Glazer (‘Sexy Beast”, “Under the Skin”), “Birth” benefits immeasurably from Glazer’s exquisite, Kubrick-esque stylings, Alexandre Desplat's bold, arousing score and Kidman’s absolutely hypnotic performance as the aggrieved Anna. Criminally underrated and under-appreciated upon release, it’s a superb and highly engrossing sleeper film primed for rediscovery.

 

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