Dr. Bird’s Advice For Sad Poets: Review

Dr. Bird's Advice For Sad Poets: Review. By Alex Crisp.

Dr. Bird’s Advice For Sad Poets: Review. By Alex Crisp.

James Whitman is a tremulous teen with a difficult home-life, a crush on the cutest girl in school, and a mysteriously vanished sister. He talks to an imaginary psychiatrist because his father doesn’t believe he’s mentally ill, therefore refusing to pay for him to see an actual one. All of these threads inform a manic, overstuffed comedy-drama that’s never sure what it wants to be.                 

Performance-wise, most commendable is Tom Wilkinson, whose avuncular warmth makes Dr. Bird—the imaginary psychiatrist who also happens to be a pigeon—the most real character in the film. Jason Isaacs showcases his talent for accents as Whitman’s father, and Lucas Jade Zumann, playing the teenaged James Whitman, does what I’d describe as a pretty good Woody Allen impression during the first act. Allen’s directorial mien is also the touchstone for director Yaniv Raz’s approach here, but unlike Allen, Raz displays a complete lack of discipline and self-control—someone has let him play in the Microsoft video-editor sandbox without supervision. The rapidity of kooky cuts, visual tricks and editing folderol turns the viewing experience into a ride on a demented merry-go-round, and not in a good way.



So the direction lets the comedy down, and the screenplay lets the drama down too. The final act leaves the fun-park behind, delving deeper into the mystery of Whitman’s missing sister. That mystery has a prosaic resolution, but the simplicity isn’t reflected in the writing. Dialogue can only handle so much plot before the plot starts to drown the words, and that’s what happens in Whitman’s closing exchanges with his family.

It’s in these exchanges that Dr Bird’s essential theme is rammed home. The troubled teenager realises he has to change his equally troubled family’s outdated attitudes towards mental illness. The teen’s father suffers from the same panic-problems that he does, but is misunderstood because of his anger. There’s nothing wrong with those ideas, they just fall flat for lack of craft. Such misgivings might be redundant though. Yaniv Raz’s gimmickry is so distracting that it would’ve be impossible to ignore however good the screenplay was. The serendipitous outcome is that Raz didn’t spoil a better one than this.


We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.


Trending on BRWC:

Cinderella (2021): The BRWC Review

By Matt Conway / 6th September 2021
Sofia Sousa: Interview

Sofia Sousa: Interview

By BRWC / 5th September 2021

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings: The BRWC Review

By Matt Conway / 6th September 2021

Sweet Girl: The BRWC Review

By Matt Conway / 24th August 2021

Malignant: The BRWC Review

By Matt Conway / 14th September 2021

Cool Posts From Around the Web:



BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese, which is a blog about films.

NO COMMENTS

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.