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Blackbird tells the story of a weekend family gathering as a means of saying goodbye to Lily (Susan Sarandon). She is terminally ill and wishes to celebrate her last days before her husband Paul (Sam Neill) ends her life with euthanasia. Happening entirely in the same house, the movie unfolds by showing the different members of the family and the reactions to the choice Lily has made. Most importantly, during the film we discover the relationship between the daughters Jennifer (Kate Winslet) and Anna (Mia Wasikowska), with their parents and relative partners.
It is not the ending that surprises the audience, as we know it from the beginning, but rather the journey of discovering the personalities of each member of the family. Perhaps a bit stereotypical, the oldest sister Jennifer has her life put together in contrast to Anna, who confesses that a few months back she tried to end her own life. Although the members of the family are of all genders, there is a spotlight on the three main women that gives the chance to the three main actresses Sarandon, Winslet and Wasikowska to beautifully develop more layers to their characters, building a strong bond between them and elevating the reality of the story.
It will certainly make you value connections and possibly tear you up
After watching this movie, especially after having lived through the pandemic, caring for your loved ones and being present is the take-away message of this film. It is only because of the secrets shared in uncomfortable moments that the relationship and trust between the characters strengthens and forces the audience to empathise with their own hidden struggles.
I personally enjoyed the well-thought-out choices made by Michell to carefully choreograph the group scenes, despite the lack of movement. For example, when Lily falls down as a result of her muscle weakness, the camera takes her point of view and shows everyone else turning around suddenly. For a still moment, the frame captures all the characters, creating a still image as if it was a family picture frame. Similarly, the majority of shots are mid shots from the waist up or wide shot, not giving the audience any perspective, but rather the ability to be impartial and objective.
In conclusion, Blackbird is an emotional drama that tackles the importance of respect and love within a family, as well as regrets that might invade you when realising one of your loved ones has limited time. It will certainly make you value connections and possibly tear you up.
Blackbird is available now to watch on Amazon Prime.