Parents' Guide to

Blackbird (2020)

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Excellent cast elevates sentimental right-to-die drama.

Movie R 2020 97 minutes
Blackbird (2020) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 15+

Blackbird - At Times a Heavy Message

A sad story that’s maybe a little too propelled by modern styling:- Expensive house by the sea looking a little too much like one selected for a commercial make-over show, modern potty-mouthed characters who we are supposed to warm to and sympathize with, the token gender-confused pair to keep it in a PC vain, weed puffers, etc...Once the storytellers get over setting the scene, there are some challenging situations dealing with euthanasia. Here, thankfully, it pretty much presents the theme from both sides of the emotional spectrum– mostly leaving the audience to judge for itself. And while it does suggest possible abuses that could surround assisted dying, it never-the-less ends as a solid nod to the activity. Farewells are seldom, if ever easy, so expect some challenging moments exposing those raw edges that can easily hide in family closets. Performances are mostly intense and convincing, with the cast helping to smooth over some of the shaky bits. Along the way, there are some nice touches examining those misunderstandings that often produce those silly gaps between generations of relatives, as well as parents and siblings. Even though it’s not Christmas, Christmas is the ‘theme’ chosen for the final family celebration together (not sure why, as it’s a Christ-less Christmas) I’ve heard that the term Black-Birding refers to leaving a social type situation without anyone knowing you’ve gone but that hardly applies here, so not sure why this movie should be titled Blackbird. Cinematically it looks polished and is graced by a thoughtful and interesting music score. At least this family gets to share their last goodbye or the parting glass together. Heavy going but mostly realistic and often thoughtful.
age 12+

Watch with a parent or adult

Beautiful movie about end-of-life rights. If under 18, would recommend watching with an adult.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (3 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Sarandon has played a middle-aged dying mom before, and she once again believably stars as a terminally ill mother in this death-with-dignity drama that's poignant but not preachy. There are a lot of familiar elements to Blackbird for those well-versed in dramas about privileged families: an architectural gem of a beachfront house (it's supposed to be on the Connecticut coast, but it's actually in the United Kingdom), siblings so different they can't help but bicker in the face of their mother's impending death, a best friend who can't stop reminiscing about inside jokes, a comic-relief in-law, and a bunch of shocking secrets. Despite the still controversial subject of assisted dying, the script by Christian Torpe (who also wrote the Danish original) doesn't include many deep conversations about Lily's decision, even after a last-minute revelation leaves the daughters so unbalanced that they have an emotional confrontation with their parents.

The women are far more nuanced than the men in this drama. There's Lily, who's certain, comforting, and caring, even as she processes her own mortality. Surrounding her are decisive, organized, stable Jennifer and unreliable, directionless Anna, as well as the always excellent Duncan as Lily's compassionate best friend. Winslet and Wasikowska are so good in their on-screen fights that they should co-star again in a movie. By comparison, the men are somewhat forgettable: Michael, whom Anna literally calls "Mr. Dull," and even Paul, who's almost too supportive (it's difficult to believe he'd be so willing for his wife to end her life before the degenerative disease takes total control of her body). The one partner who stands out is Anna's nonbinary significant other Chris, mostly thanks to Taylor-Klaus' charisma. Despite some of Blackbird's predictable turns (particularly for those familiar with the original), this remake delivers worthy performances and a touching examination of life, love, death, and loss.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate