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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Birth

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Cameron Bright
Director: Jonathan Glazer
Rated: R
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: October 2004
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Drama

*Also starring: Danny Huston, Anne Heche, Lauren Bacall, Arliss Howard, Peter Stormare, Ted Levine, Cara Seymour, Alison Elliott, Zoe Caldwell, Milo Addica, Novella Nelson

Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

It's been described as Mary Kay Letourneau-meets-"Ghost" - this bizarre, controversial drama about a woman who is convinced that a 10 year-old boy is the reincarnation of her late husband.

As the story begins, a jogger runs through Central Park, suffers a heart attack and dies. At the same time, a baby is born. Cut to ten years later. The jogger's fragile widow, Anna (Nicole Kidman), is with Joseph (Danny Huston), her new fiancé, when a pudgy little fellow (Cameron Bright) sneaks into their posh high-rise apartment with some party guests and identifies himself as her husband. "I love you," he declares solemnly, "and I don't want you to marry Joseph."

Anna is stunned, as are her friends and family (Lauren Bacall, Zoe Caldwell, Peter Stormare, Alison Eliot, Arliss Howard, Anne Heche), even the boy's bewildered parents. Yet they all take him seriously. Under questioning, he comes up with correct answers to their probing questions. In a later scene, this strange, expressionless child slowly undresses and climbs into the bathtub with seemingly naked Anna (she's in a swimsuit but you don't see that). And as the haunting, supernatural puzzle unfolds, they share not only an ice-cream sundae but also a gentle kiss.

Director Jonathan Glazer ("Sexy Beast"), who shares writing credit with Milo Addica and Jean-Claude Carriere, carefully crafts this creepy yet compelling metaphysical concept, superbly photographed by Harris Savides. Anna always seems to be "in transit," going from one place to another, both physically and emotionally, and surely it's no coincidence that Nicole Kidman with cropped, boyish brown hair resembles Mia Farrow in "Rosemary's Baby." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Birth" is a surreal, even salacious 6, tackling one of society's ultimate taboos.

Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger

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