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.