This past week the internet went into a frenzy with Netflix’s newest film, Birdbox. Just like A Quiet Place, this film has become internet’s newest obsession. And, obviously, Twitter-verse quickly jumped on the bandwagon, with their endless memes. From Kim Kardashian to Chrissy Teigen, everyone has something to say about it. And, that’s how you know you’ve made it.
Here’s the breakdown of the film: (Spoiler Alert!)
The movie starts off with the protagonist, Malorie played by Sandra Bullock who is staunch on shutting herself out from the world. In the very first scene, she seems disconnected with her sister, and refuses to communicate with her mother. All while, the atrocities happening in Russia play out in the background as white noise. She seems blasé about her reality, and paintings around her depict the bleakness and melancholia that surrounds her. This sets the tone for the film, and the terror that is about to follow.
On the way to the hospital, a very pregnant Malorie is seen wearing a blue jacket with feathered trim which symbolizes her as– the lone bluebird. Within 10 minutes of the film, Malorie’s sister, Jessica played by Sarah Paulson throws herself in front of the bus. Thus, leaving Malorie with her pregnant belly to survive this mysterious force that is decimating the human race. As for the mysterious force– it started spreading from Russia and Siberia which makes people suicidal. Eventually, catching up to California where the story unfolds. If you see it, you die– but unlike other films, you won’t get a glimpse of the monster.
The force alters people’s psyche and the alteration affects people differently. Which is evident in the case of people with mental health issues or prior psychological damage. As they have already lived their darkest fears, instead of killing themselves, they resort to violence.
With Jessica gone, Malorie finds herself huddled with a group of strangers trying to survive the unknown danger that looms them. The narrative of this film has been recounted using flashbacks, instead of the chronological order. Thus offering a diverse perspective to the viewers, and keeping everyone on the edge of their seats.
From the group, Charlie comes up with his own theory. He further explains that this might be the end of the world and humanity has received its judgement. He calls these creatures as ‘spirit creatures’ who take the form of their worst fear or deepest sadness. And thus, these demons are able to manipulate their victims. These demons are believed to be part of various mythologies and religion.
The birds are a key element to the plot as they act as– forewarning and at the same time signify freedom and hope. When Tom talks to kids about freedom prior to the post-apocalyptic society, he recalls birds flying over the mountain. Along with birds, the Arabian horse that Malorie sees on T.V is also associated with the idea of being free. In some culture, horses are synonymous with the universal symbol of freedom without restraint, as riding a horse made people feel they could free themselves from their own bindings.
Throughout the film, Malorie is isolated and emotionally detached from people around her, including the kids, and playing up her strengths to ensure survival. This is evident when she refuses to name the kids, calling them ‘girl’ and ‘boy.’ But, this bedlam, forces Malorie to come out of her shell and navigate her feelings instead of suppressing them. And, she is challenged by her conscious to do the right thing. In the end, the crux of the matter is that the greatest monster is the one inside us. And, when Malorie confronts it, she is able to overcome her inability to connect with other people.