Theatrical Release: January 2, 2015


A washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory.

Dove Review

“Birdman” focuses on how important relevance and regrets are in a person’s life. Michael Keaton plays an actor named Riggan Thomson, who used to be known as “Birdman.” Interestingly, many viewers will remember Keaton as “Batman” in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It is important to Riggan to be rid of his past and to be relevant, so he writes a play, directs it, and is one of the stars. He wants no regrets and wants to do something of “substance.” However, as this film’s subtitle is “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance,” rest assured that his experience in the theater is not to be a happy one.

For one thing, he has a daughter named Sam (Emma Stone) who is working at the theater and is fresh from rehab. She still struggles with her past and has marijuana on stand-by. Also, Riggan hires an actor named Mike Shiner (Edward Norton) and it doesn’t take him long to ruffle everyone’s feathers. He is self-indulgent and tries to force an actress named Leslie (Naomi Watts) to have sex with him, which is what happens in one of the scenes. But he wants it to be real and she has a difficult time fighting him off before the curtain rises.

Just as Icarus fell, it is apparent that Riggan refuses to accept his fallen star, even confronting Times theater critic Tabitha Dickinson (Lindsay Duncan), a reviewer who has never been kind to him in the past. It seems that if it can go wrong, it does.

From a family-friendly perspective, this movie doesn’t come close. It is loaded with so much strong language that I stopped counting after awhile. It is filled with the F-bomb, sometimes used in a sexual way, GD, JC, and many other words that could (but won’t) be named. It also contains rear male nudity, sex outside marriage, the mention of drugs and smoking marijuana, and strong content pretty much throughout. Therefore we can’t award “Birdman” our Dove Seal for family-friendly viewing.

Content Description

Sex: Sex outside of marriage; woman kisses another woman and woman says, "Do that again;" man tries to force himself on an actress before the curtain rises; man touches woman's breast; sexual comments and slang; comment about condoms.
Language: A lot of language including the F-bomb and it is used also in a sexual way; GD; and just about every curse word or slang word one could think of; constant use of language.
Violence: Man's character in a play shoots himself in the head and some blood is seen; man actually shoots off his nose although it is not graphic, but some blood is shown; mention of a man who put gun in his mouth and shot himself; woman slaps man.
Drugs: Character smokes marijuana; comments about drug abuse and "druggies;" drinking and smoking including whiskey.
Nudity: Rear male nudity; cleavage; actor gets locked out of theater and walks around to the front box office in his underwear; woman's nipples seen through blouse.
Other: Tension between characters; disrespect shown toward characters.


Company: Unknown
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 119 min.
Industry Rating: R
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter