Birds of America is one of those independent films that relies on the big names – Matthew Perry, Hilary Swank, Ginnifer Goodwin – that for some reason agreed to be a part of it despite it giving them very little. Maybe they thought the film would give them edge or extra acting experience, but to be honest it didn’t do any of them justice because the story didn’t give them very much opportunity to show off their acting abilities.
If I am honest describing the plot of this film has been very difficult because nothing really happens, in fact it seems to be a film made up of several sub-plots that don’t seem to tie together well. From what I gather the film is about learning to appreciate your loved ones no matter what they do. The film centres around Morrie (Matthew Perry) who is set up as a man who, after his parents death, got their house and had to raise his younger siblings Ida (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Jay (Ben Foster), but struggled to come to terms with his new found responsibility and did a bad job raising them causing everyone to believe they are troublemakers. The rest of the film shows him picking up the pieces when his brother and sister screw up, feeling for them, connecting with them then letting go of all the “important” things in life to live the young carefree life he never really got (not as exciting as it sounds). The sub-plots include running away from the police, pooping in their neighbours garden and going to visit a loved one that the sister had abandoned.
There is absolutely nothing special about this film. The narrative is confusing, the acting is mediocre and it isn’t special technically either. I feel like they should have focussed more on one of the sub-plots to really make the film interesting and recommendable, for example there is a story where Morrie is going for tenure at his work (he is a teacher), but he really wasn’t portrayed as a good teacher other than the fact that he was nice to his boss and never late to class – if they had shown Morrie as a decent teacher who really took interest in his students I would have possibly felt sorry for him when his brother and sister ruined his chances for tenure, but I don’t really think he deserved or wanted it so that part of the film lost all meaning.
Watch this film if you are interested in seeing Matthew Perry and Hilary Swank play SLIGHTLY different roles than normal, but I wouldn’t get too excited about it. I love independent films, but this one was a complete and utter miss for me – and apparently a lot of other people considering it isn’t popular.
Have you seen Birds of America? What did you think?