Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


BIRTH (2004). Director: Jonathan Glazer.

"I thought you were my dead husband, but you're just a little boy in my bathtub."

Anna (Nicole Kidman) is about to remarry near the tenth anniversary of the death of her first husband, Sean. Along comes a ten-year-old boy, whose name is also Sean, who tells Anna that she must not remarry because he is her late husband. Is this an actual reincarnation at work, or is there something wrong with the child? It really doesn't matter -- and the characters don't wonder about it as much as they might -- because it becomes clear long before Anna and young Sean sit in a bathtub together in the nude that whatever its "romantic" pretensions this film is merely contrived to create a situation in which there is sexual tension between an adult and a child. [Anna takes an awfully long time to tell Sean that she doesn't want him in the tub.] In other words ---yuck! What we have here is a film like Tadpole, pseudo-intellectual pedophile chic -- or rather shit. You have to wonder why many critics don't see through this stuff, and why actors like Nicole Kidman and Lauren Bacall lend their names to what is really just a more "acceptable" variation of kiddie porn. [Although one wonders how acceptable this would have seemed had the adult been male and the child female, or both male?] The film also suffers from disjointed continuity, and is at times quite laughable. I'll spare the name of the intense boy actor who appears in this, but what on earth were his parents thinking? You don't have to be open-minded to like this, just stupid.

Verdict: If you want to think this is "artistic," be my guest, but I think it's crap. 0 stars.

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