New York Times - 10/29/2004
"[A] suave and brooding gothic tale....The film becomes both spellbinding and heartbreaking, a delicate chamber piece with the large, troubled heart of an opera."
USA Today - 10/29/2004
"BIRTH presents an intriguing premise about death and the possibility of rebirth in an elegant, melancholy and deliberate fashion....Its two lead performances, one by a movie star, the other by an unknown little boy, are riveting and sometimes electric."
Los Angeles Times - 10/29/2004
"Lit up by an incandescent Nicole Kidman performance, this adventurous film, daring and frustrating by turns, uses cinematic skill to raise provocative questions about love, belief, memory and reincarnation."
Sight and Sound - 12/01/2004
"Accompanied by Alexandre Desplat's score, with its ominous thrums and spectral tinkles, and filmed in desaturated greys, browns and jaundicey yellows....[Glazer's] drama demonstrates his firm grasp of psychological disorientation..."
Uncut - 12/01/2004
"BIRTH is a symphonic, engrossing, quietly devastating work."
Rolling Stone - 11/25/2004
"[Kidman] lets emotions play across her face with her own symphonic grace. It's a tour-de-force performance in a stylistically bold movie..."
Nicole Kidman teams up with director Jonathan Glazer (SEXY BEAST) to deliver some sensitive subject matter in BIRTH. Kidman stars as Anna, a wealthy widower preparing to remarry 10 years after the sad, premature death of her husband. She inhabits a vast apartment in New York City, which is owned by her protective mother, Eleanor (Lauren Bacall), who quickly gathers Anna under her protective wing whenever trouble comes calling. Anna's fiancé Joseph (Danny Huston) also resides in the austere apartment, where a party is thrown to celebrate the impending wedlock of the happy couple. An unwelcome visitor in the shape of 10-year-old Sean (Cameron Bright) crashes the festivities, cornering Anna and claiming to be her departed husband. After a derisory reaction from Anna, events take a strange twist when Sean continues to hound the widower, revealing facts that only her late husband could possibly know. Emotions pour out of Anna, with Kidman delivering an exemplary performance as she manages to simultaneously convey grief, confusion, and the overwhelming feeling of loss that Anna had all but buried. Becoming ever more convinced of Sean's authenticity, Anna risks losing everything as Joseph and Eleanor attempt to debunk the veracity of the 10-year-old's claims, but fight a losing battle as Anna's old feelings reawaken and blossom into a palpable flourish of love and desire.
Director Glazer packs a haunting visual punch throughout BIRTH, drawing on the stunning work of cinematographer Harris Savides to present a bleak, almost monochromatic vision of New York. The script from longtime Buñuel collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière and cowriter Milo Addica handles what could have been a controversial topic with taste and dignity, but the movie really belongs to Kidman, who once again proves her acting chops with a stimulating performance.