Birth (2004) - Jonathan Glazer
Anna, a 35 year old widow, resides in the Upper East Side of New York City where she has finally been able to finish the grieving process over the death of her husband ten years prior. She has even recently found love with a new man, Joseph, who she plans to marry. One night while celebrating her mother's birthday with family and friends a ten-year-old boy shows up insisting that he is the reincarnation of Anna's late husband. Of course this seems preposterous and Anna brushes off these notions as merely an adolescent crush but Sean's uncanny knowledge of her life leads Anna down a dangerous path of self-reevaluation that not only threatens to destroy her current relationship with Joseph, but every relationship she has. Jonathan Glazer's Birth is a unique exploration of the powerful nature of grief and how it can force the most rational of people into a tailspin of irrational behavior. Birth is a very a brooding piece of atmosphere that relies heavily on its cinematography and sound design to exude this creepy and off-settling tone. The film also plays like a horror film at times, effectively putting the viewer into Anna's confused mindset. The viewer is completely left in the dark throughout the narrative, never quite sure what to believe, no matter how unbelievable things appear. This is without question a well crafted film in every way from the cinematography to the acting but I do believe the film relies a little too heavily on its initial concept, instead of really exploring the themes that it raises. Birth never explores its themes deep enough to be truly profound as I was hoping but there is no denying it's a piercing study of the power of grief.
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