VOD REVIEW: Spectacular Blackbird sings through an exploration of death

This meditation on love, life, family and going out of this world on one’s own terms is one of the most wholly mesmerizing, beautiful pieces of film to come in this strange year.

A remake of the 2014 Danish film Silent Heart, it arranges an incredible cast as a family gathering around a terminally ill matriarch in her final days. She’s made the decision to have her doctor husband assist her in dying, and the family spends one last weekend together before her passing.

The dialogue and screenplay brings the drama and emotion of August, Osage County without all the screeching and eruption, and for that I am thankful. Writer of the original — Christian Torpe — is back here for the remake, and does his own work justice with this heartbreaking, intense ode to family.

Director Roger Michell, known for Notting Hill, Venus, and the severely underrated Morning Glory, makes use of his actors here, and the film is better for it. The performances vary from great to spectacular, with most landing in the latter.

Susan Sarandon is sublime as the matriarch, with Kate Winslet and Mia Wasikowska pairing off as her daughters in diametrically opposite, but both engrossing, turns. Sam Neill is great as the loving husband just trying to respect his wife’s wishes, and we receive a toned-down performance from The Office alum Rainn Wilson.

Though I do have to say here, little-known, fledgling actor Anson Boon is just wonderful, in easily his best performance to date. He is stunning, and has great potential.

This is a skillful, triumphant family drama and an actor’s showcase that meshes together just perfectly, finding the humour in sadness and the euphoria in letting go.

Blackbird is the kind of movie that you won’t help but have to analyze long after you’ve seen it. All I’ll say is the first thing I wanted to do when I finished was call and check in on my own mother.

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