On 17 August, a trailer was released for the upcoming film Blackbird, produced by Screen Media Films. The drama is directed by Roger Mitchell (Notting Hill, Le Week-End, My Cousin Rachel) with a screenplay from Christopher Torpe (Deliver Us, Rita, The Mist).
Blackbird will tells the story of Lily (Susan Sarandon) who, having found out she is dying from ALS, has gathered her close family together for one last weekend of connection before she takes her own life. The weekend is undercut, however, by unresolved family conflict, the feeling of betrayal and refusal to accept Lily’s choice. The film features a supporting cast of Kate Winslet, Mia Wasikowska, Sam Neill and Lindsey Duncan.
The film is a remake of Silent Heart, a 2014 Danish film, and has the same screenwriter returning for this project. Silent Heart is currently available on Amazon Prime, so if you’re interested in checking out this film, you may enjoy the Danish production as well. Either film may also be of interest to you if you enjoyed Lulu Wang’s 2019 film The Farewell, which featured similar plot threads and themes.
Blackbird was first released at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019 and received a variety of mixed reviews. Dennis Harvey from Variety called the film “quality enterprise with numerous rewards for adult audiences,” whilst The Guardian’s Benjamin Lee described it as “an empty, if thankfully short, piece of festival fodder.” The varied responses suggest the film could go either way in the audience’s eyes.
In the opinion of this critic, it looks like a film that’ll be held together on the ability of the actors more than anything. Some of the dynamics seem promising, but the variety of tonal shifts the trailer promises could very well go either way. It does run the risk of falling into generic tropes and archetypes for this genre of heartstring-pulling cinema, and will only be saved if it can create some distinct characters and a unique voice of its own.
Blackbird is scheduled for release on the 18 September.
Words by Mischa Alexander
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