A superb Susan Sarandon plays a mother spending a final few days with her husband and adult children in Roger Michell’s exquisite reworking of 2014 Danish drama Silent Heart.
Dir Roger Michell
Prod Sherryl Clark, David Bernardi, Rob Van Norden
Scr Christian Torpe
With Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Mia Wasikowska, Sam Neill, Lindsay Duncan
UK Distribution Lionsgate
Set over a weekend at a beautiful house near the seaside, it’s clear from the outset that Lily (Sarandon) has made her family aware that she plans to end her own life before her terminal disease renders her incapable of doing so. Her adoring husband (Sam Neill) is committed to being there for her, making the choice as emotionally and physically painless as it can be, while her two daughters (Kate Winslet and Mia Wasikowska) are both reluctant to accept Lily’s decision for their own very personal reasons. One of the UK’s classiest cinematic storytellers, Michell (Enduring Love, Le Week-End, Notting Hill) has a crystalline gift for getting a good script to sing, always drawing soulful performances from his actors. And the quality of the cast here says everything about his regard as a director. While the debate over euthanasia is very sensitive, Christian Torpe’s measured, intelligent and compassionate script is less interested in ethics than it is in understanding human behaviour. Deeply moving and satisfying as a drama, Blackbird is a story about the complexity of family love, but one with an urgent and relevant beating heart.