I picked up the remote and turned Netflix on. My phone had just sent me a notification that a recommended movie called Bird Box was available. I was bored and had nothing else to do, hanging out with my friends on a Friday afternoon. Without even reading the description or reviews, I made an extremely bold move. I pressed play and began the movie.
Immediately, I got distracted and stood up to get an apple in the kitchen. I will admit I missed the very first part of the movie, which turns out to be an integral part of understanding the plot. When I sat back down, I saw a pregnant Sandra Bullock leaving a hospital with what appeared to be a friend or family member. All of a sudden, the screen exploded into a frenzy of people literally killing themselves in every gruesome, horrendous, imaginable way possible. At this point, I focused my attention entirely on the television.
The movie then continues to illustrate a disease rapidly spreading among people, leading them to take their own lives. Quickly, viewers discover that eye contact transfers the illness. There are common flashbacks between the current time of the movie, which show clips of Bullock and children on a river, and five years ago, when the illness began.
At certain moments, the film was confusing to keep up with because it was difficult to distinguish between the time periods. Eventually, I was able to discover that the flashbacks had a yellow tint to the camera shots while the “now” period was a shade of dark blue. The change in illumination is just one of the many amazing symbolic items I was able to identify in the movie and one of the multiple reasons that Bird Box was so entertaining.
I kept wondering where the title of the movie came from as the film continued. The birds actually appear in the first two minutes of the movie, yet my attention span accounted for me missing this part. When the story first shows the animals, Bullock’s character is putting them into a box with holes that she takes with her for her trip down the river. Throughout the entirety of the plot, the birds send a message.
If watchers pay enough attention to the small pets that Bullock has with her, they will realize that the birds are an alarm. Whenever a person with the disease is within close range, the birds begin to chirp and alert others that they are in danger. Eventually, this becomes an extremely important tool for the few humans that survive the chaos.
My personal favorite thing about the incorporation of the birds is that the film doesn’t exclusively tell viewers why the animals are there. It is almost like a secret that only insiders can understand, giving Bird Box a deeper meaning and purpose rather than just showing tragedy.
Another reason I’d recommend the movie to anyone is simply the ending. After an entire adventure of terror and mystery, Bullock and her children arrive at a sanctuary they’ve previously heard about. Earlier in the film, a man speaks to her on a walkie-talkie, telling her that there is a safe place farther down the river. While this at first sounds like the perfect escape, there is still a large possibility that the man and anyone else he’s with has the suicidal disease, and it is only a trap. Still, the woman and children make the trip to find a place to stay.
When the man opens the door to the alleged sanctuary, Bullock discovers that all of the people there are blind. Not only is it a sigh of relief to the characters but also to the watchers. For me, it was a possibility I hadn’t previously considered. Everyone at the blind home was so welcoming and kind as well because they didn’t completely understand the struggle of people outside.
Fans have interpreted the message behind a blind sanctuary in many different ways. Personally, I thought the point was to demonstrate that disabled people are just like everyone else and still have the ability to make a difference in the world. It was wholesomely inspiring and beautiful to make this realization and it greatly enhanced my watching experience.
A third tidbit I found interesting about Bird Box was the meaning behind the entire movie. While there are many speculations, I’m on board with the idea of mental health awareness. Because sight transfers the disease, it becomes evident that people are dealing with their own internal demons, leading them to become suicidal. In a world of superficial social media, it has become much more common for young people to attempt to fit stereotypes of beauty instead of head-on confronting their imperfections. By demonstrating that every person has their flaws, the film sends a strong message to viewers about mental health awareness.
Even in the earlier scenes of the movie, Bullock claims that she doesn’t understand why her sister killed herself because she was never a sad person. Instead of facing her own baggage at any point in life, the sister contracted the disease and took her own life as the best way to escape. This is a recurring theme in my own generation as well, where many young adults hide their mental disorders and traits in order to become more popular or liked.
Bird Box illuminates the idea that nobody is the exact same and confrontation with unlikable things in your life is not a bad thing. It also demonstrates that mental health is extremely important and that differences between people are what make the world that much more interesting.
The movie is overall phenomenal and worth a watch, assuming that the viewer can handle some gruesome, darker scenes. Although it can get spine-chilling, Bird Box teaches multiple extremely important lessons and shows watchers that people’s imperfections are what make them special and valuable.