Warning: Bird Box Spoilers Below
I’m sure by now most people are well aware of Bird Box, and have seen it or at least heard about it from a colleague in your morning meetings, or watching the screen of the kid in the row ahead of you in your lecture. Bird Box, Netflix’s latest buzz film, achieved over 45 million views in one week, breaking the record for the most amount of views in 7 days.
Bird Box takes place in a post-apocalyptic environment where people have to shield their eyes from the ‘monster’. The monster is never revealed but once you see it there is no escaping it.
However, Bird Box has received some scrutiny about the way it portrays mental health. Many believe that the film needed a trigger warning because of the way it depicts mental health in a poor light. Critics and twitter users alike thought that the film ‘villainized’ people with mental health illness, only adding to the already Hollywood reinforced stereotype.
Though now, others are asking people to take a second look at the movie and what it means from an alternate perspective. Twitter user Benny James paints a different picture of a deeper meaning behind Bird Box and maybe it’s not as prejudiced as we have come to believe.
“Notice that people labeled as ‘mentally ill’ are immune to the monster and they want everyone else to see it. They want everyone else to see what it’s like to want to take your own life and hear voices in your head.
The monster is suicide and mental illness personified. Throughout the film you slowly watch people unravel and fall victim to their own fear, paranoia and violent behaviour, all symptoms of mental illness. This forces the audience to ask ‘Now who’s crazy?’.
Without any in depth information about the “monster”, all the characters are figuratively and literally left blind.
Why can no one see the “monster”? Because suicide and mental illness don’t have a face. It can affect anybody. […]
Today we have those instances of people who were clearly exemplifying suicidal tendencies before they took their own lives, but the stigma surrounding suicide and mental illness often causes people to hide those feelings rather [than] talk about them; we’ve all seen those new[s] stories and interviews [where] people who were close to a suicide victim say things like ‘She never seemed like she’d do something like that’ or ‘everything seemed fine’.”
“Almost all of the characters are dealing with grief to some degree, especially Malorie and John Malcovich’s character (Douglas). They both watch their loved ones commit suicide. This shows that suicide doesn’t just affect the victim, but also the people around them.
Now go rewatch the movie and stop looking at things at face value. That kind of observation is what the film is trying to get you to stop doing. It’s much deeper than that.”
Other twitter users came to the same conclusion when watching the film. In various areas of life we have all had to face our fear and battle our demons, but some have to face their demons everyday and have to fight to push forward.