I am somewhat hesitant to put out this review right now with the current COVID-19 situation, but Bird Box (2018) is a good movie worth a view. I do not wish to add to the panic at the moment, and some of the scenes in this film might seem a little too real for some. Of course, the virus is not (to my knowledge) causing people to have a kind of psychotic hallucination that leads to their suicide, as in the movie. But the grocery store scenes with its empty shelves might be too poignant to those who have been frustrated by the lack toilet paper and chicken (myself included). Still, the take away here is the hopeful ending that reminds us that even amidst tragedy there is a reason to hope.
In the world of Bird Box, some mystery force enters that makes people who encounter it see . . . something. This part is never too clear. It is a bad something, though, as it causes people to kill themselves. Malorie (Sandra Bullock), the film’s main character, is caught out driving back from a doctor’s appointment with her sister, Jessica (Sarah Paulson). For whatever reason, Jessica sees the thing (I am really struggling to come up with a useful way of describing this phenomenon) and decides to crash the car they are both in. Jessica is eventually finished off by a speeding garbage truck, but Malorie manages to take shelter in a home owned by Douglas (John Malkovich). Others end up there too, and they quickly figure out that they need to shutter the windows for if they look outside, or step outside, they die.
Bird Box, though, has one little twist in it that gives it a little more gravitas than your typical doom’s day flick: Malorie is pregnant. Not only that, but one of the others who takes shelter in Douglas’ house, Olympia (Danielle Macdonald), is also with child. Given that there is so much death at this time, one might feel that it is a bit irresponsible to bring a baby into this world. Yet, thankfully, this is not a sentiment shared by the mothers in this film. Life is precious, no matter what the situation is, and particularly when human lives are at a premium. Malorie did show some reluctance in wanting to be a a mother, particularly when she does not even give names to them. But, she also displays an amazing ability as a caregiver by not only keeping her own child alive but Olympia’s as well after the other mother’s death. Her transformation into mom extraordinaire occurs when she realizes that the only way to truly stay alive is by letting her children hope in better future. As mentioned above, the importance of this message should not go unnoticed.
In Bird Box, Malorie is no Virgin Mary. She is a bit direct with her children, and snaps at them when they disobey the slightest commands. Then again, they do inhabit a dangerous place where death is all but assured if they take one misstep. Yet I bring up Mary because when Malorie is faced with the possibility of losing her children, the sorrow is quite evident. As we approach Good Friday (even if we will likely not be able to be in Mass for it), it reminds us that when we deal with the pain of losing our offspring, there is somebody we can turn to who has gone through that very thing.
Difficulty can be transcended, and Bird Box ultimately comes to this conclusion. Yes, life can be immensely challenging. But they do not have the final say in how our lives will turn out. Also, for parents out there who might have young ones that need their entertainment choices monitored, the film does have a bit of swearing and a completely unnecessary sex scene. But outside of these things, it is a good thriller to sit down and watch after the young ones have gone to bed.