I tend to have FOMO, so when everyone starting sharing those “Bird Box” blindfold memes all over Facebook, I couldn’t wait to watch it.
I don’t typically do scary movies, but I was excited for this one. After all, it stars Sandra Bullock (who plays Malorie in the film), America’s sweetheart. How bad could it really be?
I put the kids to bed a little early, grabbed a bag of cookies because calories don’t count this week (Hallelujah. We can fix it in January.), and settled in with the two great loves of my life—my husband and Netflix.
Five to 10 minutes in—seriously, five to 10 minutes—I was looking at my husband saying, “I hate this. I can’t. My anxiety medicine isn’t strong enough. Get ready to turn it off.”
I couldn’t watch it, but I also couldn’t not watch it. Know what I mean? It was like a giant zit on your forehead. You don’t necessarily like it, but you can’t stop messing with it either.
It was intriguing for sure. Well-acted, well-written, well-directed. It will mostly keep your attention, all 124 minutes of it.
If you like funny and heart-warming, keep scrolling until you find “Dumplin” but if you’re in the mood to be freaked out and a bit sad, “Bird Box” will suit you just fine.
Like most movies, it comes with mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes has it as 65% and the critics are all over the place on this one.
While I wouldn’t call it a typical horror film (you aren’t likely to jump or scream or squirm from anything overly gruesome), it is intense. There are no deaths that will shock you, no half-naked girls wearing high heels trying to escape the killer, and it couldn’t ever happen (gosh, I hope not at least), but the whole thing is just end-of-the-world, what-the-hell-is-going-on creepy. I don’t really know how to explain it, and honestly, it worries me that there are people out there who even come up and dream up and write this stuff.
Here are my three major takeaways from the film, as a very normal human and not at all an expert, or a critic of any kind:
- It’s every bit about living with hope and opening yourself up as it is a thriller. I had heard mixed reviews about the ending. Some people didn’t feel like it was tied up neatly enough. Some people feel like it was unresolved. Personally, I loved it. I ugly cried through the credits, half because I was so touched by Malorie’s ability to finally let go of control and fear, and half because I was such a tangled nest of emotions by the end. The releasing of the birds is as symbolic as it gets, as is her finally naming the children and telling them “and I am your mother.” Her character has a beautiful arc, much more so than the movie, which basically moves at the same speed the entire time, which is as expected as a rainbow after a thunderstorm but every bit as beautiful.
- The characters are wonderful contrasts of each other. From the very first scene, we know that Malorie is hard, and closed-off. She’s kind, but she’s tough. Mushy-gushy ain’t her style, which is probably while she survives as long as she does. Then we have Olympia (played by Danielle MacDonald) who is soft and sweet and not one bit self-sufficient. She’s been coddled and taken care of her entire life. Although they are both pregnant at the same time, that’s where their similarities end. One has a girl. One gives birth to a boy. One is eventually killed because of her overly-trusting nature. One survives, but is so afraid of love, she never really lives. Then there’s Tom (played by Trevante Rhodes), who is without a doubt, the easiest character to love. He’s handsome and charming. He’s the hero, not only because he physically saves the day, but because he teaches Malorie to live with some hope of the future, some vulnerability, some desire to live outside of the comforts of the safe box she has created for herself and her family.
- MAJOR SPOILER: Do not read on unless you want the movie to be completely ruined. OK, you’ve been adequately warned. The blind are saved from this horrific killing-force. Their disability, the thing that sets them apart and has made them different their entire life, ends up being the thing that actually saves them. The entire movie, to a degree, is about the kind of blind faith we all need to keep moving forward on our journeys. We don’t ever know what’s ahead, what’s at the end of the river, but we keep moving forward with limited visibility nonetheless. We persist. We pursue. We keep living. We keep giving. We keep risking it all to make connections with one another.
Will I watch “Bird Box” again? Doubtful. Am I glad I watched it? I dunno. I didn’t sleep a ton last night, honestly, and I’m pretty tired because of it. Do I understand the memes now? Yes, yes I do, and for that, I am grateful.