Film Review: Birdman


I’m writing this as I get ready to watch the Academy Awards. One of the nominees for best picture is Birdman, which I watched on demand this morning.

I tend to like films that are meta, meaning that they are films about the entertainment industry. One of my favorite metas is The Player. Birdman is a meta, as well.

Michael Keaton plays a washed up Hollywood star who suffers a nervous breakdown while trying to launch a Broadway play as writer, director, and star.

I think this movie has a good chance of winning the award for best original screenplay. The writing is bright and crisp, with great dialogue.

I also think that Edward Norton has a good chance of winning the award for Best Supporting Actor. He’s great as a New York stage actor filling in on short notice. Michael Keaton is very good as well. In fact, the whole cast does a great job.

So you’d think with a great screenplay and great acting and the meta aspect that I would love this film. I liked it a lot, but the missing element, for me, is that it lacks emotional punch. The characters in the film have a jaded quality that rings true, but also makes it hard to care about them.

This film is similar thematically to Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman. It asks the question of whether an artist has to be borderline crazy to create great art.

I have no idea which film will win Best Picture this year. I haven’t seen all of the ones nominated and I enjoyed all the ones I did see for different reasons.

My only rooting interest is for Bradley Cooper to win Best Actor for his portrayal of American Sniper Chris Kyle. He was great in that film, has been nominated twice previously, but hasn’t won yet. By the way, Kyle’s wife is being interviewed on the red carpet right now. She looks like she could be one of the movie stars.

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