Birdman’s review published on Letterboxd:
"You are not unlovable. There is always something to love."
My grandmother died on Sunday. Both my grandmothers shaped one of my two major loves in my life. One shaped my love of history, and my late grandmother somewhat shaped my love of film. She always had something to recommend, every time I saw her. I'm going to miss her so much, and if I knew that the last time I saw her would be exactly that, I would have said so much more. Now you may be wondering why I went to a theater to see a movie after finding out about this, well I did it because I needed something reconnect me with a state of happiness.
Connecting with people has always been difficult for me, even if we shared common interests. Within the last couple of years, I've broken out of that shell quite a lot, joining discord chats and making friends on here, but I'll never forget how truly difficult it used to be. Connecting with emotions was just as difficult, even now I haven't shed a single tear for lost loved ones, and I can't figure out why. I wish I could cry as easily as many people in my life can, instead I just sit there, as emotionless as a statue. I wish I wasn't like this. I wish I didn't release emotions through reviews of movies. This is simply who I am, I can't deny that, this is why I needed to watch this movie.
When I first saw this, I knew I loved it, but this second watch really impacted me. This truly feels like a groundbreaking film in ways. It defies many conventions and opts to be whatever it wants. Whether you love or hate this movie, one thing you can't deny is that it doesn't care either way. The many layers this film has can and will be dissected for years to come. We will no doubt be seeing this film's influence on many many more in the future, much like Star Wars and The Matrix did. I personally love this film much more than the aforementioned ones, but my point still stands.
The Daniels previous film, Swiss Army Man was one that I enjoyed, but didn't really connect to overall. What really held it back for me was the ending, but another thing that bugged me was that it was trying really hard to be quirky, and it didn't always come across as genuine. In this film, the quirks are purposefully set up in the well-defined characters, and they even have effects on the story. There are so many films that make choices that feel purposeless, but almost everything in this particular film has some sort of purpose. Whether it be in the presentation, script, or writing, there's always something that works in service of something else. There's so much profound meaning to be found here that I can easily see myself discovering new appreciation with every watch.
The performances in this film are also a huge standout. Michelle Yeoh gives my absolute favorite performance from her. I haven't seen her in a ton of things, but she absolutely kills it as one of the leading roles. Ke Huy Quan returns to acting in his first lead role in 40 years. He was probably my favorite character in the film, and to see his performance match and sometimes even outshine his co-stars is absolutely incredible. Stephanie Hsu plays one of the most sadly relatable characters I've seen in a long time. The pain her character goes through is perfectly shown in her performance, and my empathy for her really burned a hole in my heart. James Hong and Jamie Lee Curtis were also incredibly entertaining additions to this already fantastic cast.
There's so much uniqueness in the presentation, and it helps this film stand out as one of the most original films I've seen released in the last few years. Every aspect is utilized, from depth of field, to audio design, to the aspect ratio. There isn’t a single avenue that feels untouched, and all of it feeds into this monumental experience. The fight scenes are satisfyingly well-choreographed, and the music doing so much is incredibly commendable. Every genre reference feels purposeful too. There are so many films that reference different storytelling techniques and presentation choices that simply come across as unbearable. In this film however, the references are actually worked into the story and help communicate changes in the films universe. I haven't seen many films that actively pursue to use everything at their disposal, but this film does exactly that.
The only thing I would actively quibble on is the humor. I found this film absolutely hysterical overall, but I would be lying if there weren't a couple of moments that had me wanting something a little more from the comedy. There are only 2 particular moments that stand out in my mind, but I guarantee it's more about my taste in humor, rather that objective hilarity. What I do love is that this movie even manages to make immaturity funny. This film contains a fight scene with sex toys, not only once, but TWICE, which is fantastic. The comedy, like every other thing in this movie, is trying to cover every avenue it can, so I honestly find it more impressive that it only somewhat missed in 2 particular moments.
I know this review started out bleak, but I need you as the reader to understand that reviewing this movie really helps me express my emotions. My grandmother fueled my love for movies, and she's part of the reason I'm still into them today. Even though she is gone, I can still remember the many conversations we had about many different movies. I know it sounds weird, but seeing this movie after finding out she passed really did help; and writing this review helped even more. Even though she is gone, what she did for my love of movies still remains, and will never die. I'm going to miss her so much, and I will never forget all that she's done for me. My love of movies is everything to me, and she is part of that, and will live on in that way. Every movie I love will have a piece of her in that love. Rest in Peace grandma, I love you so much, and I will never stop loving movies.