Birth Reviews

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David Ansen
Newsweek
November 1, 2007
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Time Out
February 9, 2006
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November 11, 2004
Unusually austere and ambiguous.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
November 2, 2004
By trying to turn Birth into a thriller, the filmmakers undermine its intriguing issues.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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David Denby
New Yorker
November 2, 2004
A dismayingly skillful exercise in high-style creepiness.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
November 1, 2004
I didn't find it spellbinding at all.
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Christy Lemire
Journal News (Westchester, NY)
October 30, 2004
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
October 30, 2004
The picture, as a whole, never gets beyond its surface.
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 29, 2004
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
October 29, 2004
Too highbrow for the multiplex and too literal for the hipsters, it's unsatisfying both as gothic camp and serious cinema.
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Teresa Wiltz
Washington Post
October 29, 2004
Mystery is fine. We like mystery. Muddle is another thing altogether, and jerking around the audience in the name of 'art' is pretty unforgivable.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
October 29, 2004
Presents an intriguing premise about death and the possibility of rebirth in an elegant, melancholy and deliberate fashion.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
October 29, 2004
Lingering performances by Nicole Kidman and 11-year-old Canadian actor Cameron Bright, as well as assured direction by Glazer ... complement an unusually thoughtful script that uses a minimum of dialogue to maximum effect.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
October 29, 2004
Strangely inert, a beautifully filmed bad idea.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
October 29, 2004
The movie never delivers on its promises.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
October 29, 2004
Possibly, this idea would have worked as comedy. Say, if the kid had said something like, 'I am dead people.'
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
October 29, 2004
An odd little picture that finally provides some unsatisfying 'explanations' for all the previously, intriguingly inexplicable things that have gone before.
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Megan Lehmann
New York Post
October 29, 2004
It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma that ultimately reveals... not much.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
October 29, 2004
It's corny, plodding, implausible and -- on occasion -- seriously creepy.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
October 29, 2004
As a demonstration of the power as well as the limitations of exceptional filmmaking, it's as unsettling and unusual as anything you're likely to see.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
October 29, 2004
The movie doesn't have the courage to fully embrace the material -- neither the scandalousness of it, nor the psychological and metaphysical implications.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
October 29, 2004
Despite its trappings, despite its style, Birth is just a tall tale with a short reach.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
October 29, 2004
Its odd allure comes from the sad reality of its story. The monsters here are memories that won't leave, that we cling to and fall prey to, illusions that will not fade.
| Original Score: B
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
October 29, 2004
Begins taking turns that simply make no sense, even in this quasi-mystical context.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
October 29, 2004
Ambiguity can be an effective dramatic tool, but it also can result in unsatisfying evasions, which I'm afraid is the case here.
| Original Score: C-
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
October 29, 2004
A mess, elegant at times, but a mess nonetheless.
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
October 29, 2004
An effective thriller precisely because it is true to the way sophisticated people might behave in this situation.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
October 29, 2004
Such a meticulously wrought piece of hokum that it's both easy to admire and impossible to warm up to.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
October 28, 2004
The story line remains faintly plausible, because Kidman makes us believe she's Anna, and Anna makes us believe.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
October 28, 2004
An odd, slightly icky little film, deftly shot and self-assured but unbelievable on just about every level, emotional and otherwise.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
October 28, 2004
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
October 28, 2004
Those characters almost always behave in a refreshingly logical manner, which makes the premise more intriguing.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
October 28, 2004
Becomes more labored, its plot twists more predictable and its characters less believable.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
October 28, 2004
A stylistically bold movie that -- flaws and all -- has the power to haunt your dreams.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 28, 2004
Birth makes its oddball supernaturalism seem completely, compellingly real.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
October 28, 2004
A load of preposterous twaddle.
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John Anderson
Newsday
October 28, 2004
An austerely creepy, ethereal spook show in which the things that go unexplained -- which are many -- are far more unnerving than the things that are.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
October 28, 2004
Combining the surrealist daring of Luis Bu˝uel with the austere technical mastery of Stanley Kubrick, it poses tantalizing questions about grief, longing and imagination as it traces chilling fingers down your spine.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
October 28, 2004
May be the most futile application of cinematic and acting skill I've seen all year.
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Allison Benedikt
Chicago Tribune
October 28, 2004
For awhile, the stately symphonic score, urbane setting and understated dress make Birth feel powerful--until it feels empty, lacking what Glazer so furiously exhibited in his equally stylized freshman endeavor: heart.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Bob Townsend
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
October 28, 2004
Strangely mesmerizing.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
October 27, 2004
All I could think was, What in God's name do the filmmakers think they're doing?
Full Review | Original Score: C-
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Dennis Lim
Village Voice
October 26, 2004
Charged with an impossible hunger, Birth has a mordantly humorous undertow, recognizing as it does the cognitive dissonance at its core.
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David Rooney
Variety
September 9, 2004
A brooding, original drama that commands attention.
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Ray Bennett
Hollywood Reporter
September 9, 2004
It has no suspense because it has no belief in itself.