Genius film. Was a little let down by the ending, but otherwise that was a superb effort. Just got back and its really late now, but will come back for more thoughts later. A hearty recommendation from me!
I was hoping to see some thoughtful discussion about "Birth" here . . . . no such luck.
I found it beautiful and fascinating in many respects. I was struck by the otherworldliness of the NY apartment with its cold marble and its strangely sterile wallpapers, flowers, and people. I found the music powerful and intriguing.
Danny Huston's character was a puzzling mixture of slightly obsessive good guy and chillingly cold, rigid, mephistophelean control freak. She lost one cheating husband and is taking on a new one who is equally (although differently) dangerous to her spirit.
Shaun (the boy) - I am not sure if he thought he was Shaun (the man), or if the "logical" explanation (that he merely read all about Shaun and Anna from Anna's letters) fit. Since I don't believe in reincarnation or spirits or any of that, I find myself trying to fit all the pieces into a logical whole.
If the letters are the key, then Shaun (the boy) would have known only what Anna knew, which would account for him not knowing about Shaun (the man's) lover, and which would be the basis for him cracking when he was presented with the truth about Shaun (the man) (the scene where he says he can't be Shaun because he loves Anna).
But a lot of the flashbacks (or time distortions) confuse me. For example, the scene where Anne Heche's character comes in with the wine bottle and the dirty hands and takes Shaun into the bathroom for the handwashing and write-the-address on his hand scene. The dirty hands would have fit the scene where she buried the letters . . . . but not the wine bottle scene. The bathtub scene was creepy, as was the kiss, as was the ice cream scene - but I found that handwashing scene to be very unsettling.
I find myself remembering small parts with interesting actors - for example, Shaun's mother and father.
The opera scene (the focus on Nicole Kidman's face) was remarkable. The final scene, her in the wedding dress, bedraggled in the surf, was immensely powerful.
Great movie? No. Slightly creepy movie? Yes, but honorably so, like "Blue Car." Memorable and compelling? yes, for me.