The Birthday (2001)

  |  Short

A lady lives with her two grown up sons on an island which is only accessible by land when the tide is out. On her Birthday, one of her sons decides to take her to the mainland as a treat. Only problem is she's scared of water.


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26 October 2002 | bob the moo
Good direction and a simple but powerful story
On an Irish island just off the mainland two brothers live with their mother. The eldest brother decides to take his mother to the mainland for a meal for her birthday. Because she hates boats they decide to take a tractor across the sand bank when the tide goes out. They cheerfully head out over the bank unaware of what the birthday holds for them.

This short has no hidden meaning - in fact the dialogue is largely meaningless and it's more about the visuals and the emotional impact of the story. As such it worked very well for me. Taking me into this friendly family where the brothers care for their mother and want to make her happy on her birthday - I liked the elder brother and the mother with ease.

The story may not be surprising but has a real emotional punch to it that you cannot fail to be moved by - even if it takes a while for you to mull it over and let it sink in, in terms of what the characters must feel. The acting is good, delivering much without overpowering dialogue. The director does well and brings simple images to the screen to contrast with the sheer emotional complexity of the story. She was picked to do the job and she earned this selection here.

Overall the film may be a little unclear and may disappoint those who are used to their emotions being painted onto the screen. A pretty but difficult film that cannot fail to move you when you watch it and for a while afterwards.

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Release Date:

15 September 2001



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