A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Promotes strong family bonds, honesty in personal relationships, transparency regarding health directives and decisions. Takes a positive stance on assisted death, arguing that it provides the terminally ill with a choice about when and how to die with dignity; this is a controversial idea depending on your values and beliefs. Encourages empathy, compassion, tolerance, acceptance.
Positive Role Models
Characters are humanly flawed and make mistakes but love and want the best for one another. Lily is thoughtful, kind, clear-eyed about her life, her illness, her decision. Jennifer is a helpful and organized mother, wife, and daughter (if a bit tightly wound). Paul is a supportive, encouraging husband and father. Anna is torn between supporting her mother and wanting more time with her. Cast is uniformly White.
Violence & Scariness
Lily's end-of-life plan is described dispassionately. A character describes her suicide attempt. A wife throws wine at her husband's face; it's played for laughs. A woman yells "stop it!" to her arguing family. Several tense family scenes with arguments and tears. A wine glass shatters.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Anna and Liz talk about having sex once, when they were younger, saying they had "fine" technique but weren't into it. Lily makes a joke that her inheritance must be spent on "hookers and blow." Two married couples kiss and embrace. One couple kisses passionately and starts to undress and get on the floor in a fast love scene. Sex is implied; a man's bare back is visible. Two people are shown clandestinely kissing.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Frequent strong language, especially in the second half of the movie, includes dozens of uses of "f--k" and "f--king," as well as "bitch," "s--t," "s--tload," "what the hell," "damn," "oh my God," "Jesus!," etc.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Ford, Volkswagen. The family enjoys the material aspects of privilege.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lily makes a joke that her inheritance must be spent on "hookers and blow." Anna and Chris smoke a joint. Someone smokes cigarettes. Everyone (including a teen) shares a hit of a joint that's deemed intense. Lots of wine drinking. Lily and Liz recall trying acid but preferring mushrooms. They also joke about being at Woodstock "in spirit." Anna has an entire bag filled with prescription drugs. Paul describes the powerful drug cocktail (a strong barbiturate, pentobarbital) that Lily will take to end her life. A character describes her attempted suicide by taking a lot of pills.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Blackbird is an English-language remake of the 2014 Danish film Silent Heart. It follows a family that's gathering to celebrate a terminally ill woman's life before her impending assisted death. Starring Susan Sarandon as the woman in question, Sam Neill as her husband, and Kate Winslet and Mia Wasikowska as her daughters, it's an intimate family drama that deals with mature, complicated themes. There's a lot of wine drinking and a couple of scenes of marijuana use (including by a teen), but it's all part of the dying woman's wishes. Strong language includes many uses of "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "damn," and more. Three different couples kiss, and one couple has a funny love scene (the man's bare back is visible before the camera cuts away). Families who watch together will be able to discuss their views around assisted dying, advanced directives, and the importance of being truthful and loving with family and friends. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
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.