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"BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE)"
(2014) (Michael Keaton, Edward Norton) (R)


Alcohol/Drugs Heavy
Blood/Gross Stuff Moderate
Disrespectful/Bad Attitude Heavy
Frightening/Tense Scenes Moderate
Gun/Weapons Heavy
Imitative Behavior Heavy
Jump Scenes Mild
Music (Scary/Tense) Mild
Music (Inappropriate) None
Profanity Extreme
Sex/Nudity Extreme
Smoking Moderate
Tense Family Scenes Heavy
Topics to Talk About Heavy
Violence Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Black Comedy: An actor, best known for playing a popular super hero character on the big screen, tries to find credibility and resurrect his career by mounting a dramatic play on Broadway.
PLOT:
Riggan Thomson (MICHAEL KEATON) was once a big star in Hollywood, due to having appeared as the title character in the popular comic book movie franchise "Birdman." But his wild ways led to the end of his marriage to Sylvia (AMY RYAN), while their young adult daughter, Sam (EMMA STONE), has recently gotten out of rehab. And his reluctance to continue appearing in that movie series means work has dried up and he's now mostly broke.

As a result, and with the help of his manager/attorney friend Jake (ZACH GALIFIANAKIS), he's mounting a production of Raymond Carver's short story, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" where he'll not only star, but also write and direct the adaptation. But there are obstacles and complication along the way, including that his costar and current girlfriend, Laura (ANDREA RISEBOROUGH), thinks she might be pregnant by him, while a falling stage light strikes one of the lead actors on the head and removes him from the production. The other central actress, Lesley (NAOMI WATTS), then learns that method actor Mike Shiner (EDWARD NORTON) -- who just so happens to be her boyfriend -- has recently quit or perhaps been fired from his latest job and is available to take the part.

He steps in and immediately clashes with Riggan, but also pushes him to dig deeper into the material and himself, while also pointing out New York Times theater critic Tabitha Dickinson (LINDSAY DUNCAN) as another big obstacle to overcome. But the biggest might just be the voice of Birdman who rattles around inside Riggan's head, filling him with doubt and uncertainty about this endeavor. With opening night approaching, it's unclear if Riggan will be able to deal with everything thrown his way as he tries to find credibility and resurrect his career.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens might, especially with the Oscar-buzz the film is generating. Fans of anyone in the cast might be interested as well.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language throughout, some sexual content and brief violence.


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