In case you were assuming that the movie Bluebird would be as cheerful as the pleasant bird it’s named after, it’s time to think again. It’s premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival this year, and I went into it last week knowing almost nothing about it except that it stars Amy Morton, Adam Driver, and John Slattery.
Turns out that Adam had about ten lines in the movie, so that part was wrong, but Amy does star as Lesley, a long-time bus driver who is one day distracted by a bluebird flying into the bus while she’s doing her final check. She locks up without looking through all the seats, and when she comes in the next day, she finds Owen, a young boy from her route, has spent the night there. The film is set during a Maine winter, and the nights get really cold, so Owen’s in bad shape — a state of suspended animation, sort of, due to hypothermia. His body has completely shut down, although he’s not yet vegetative. The blame gets placed pretty much solely on Lesley, but Owen’s mother Marla (played by Louisa Krause) also dropped the ball, going out drinking and doing prescription meds and forgetting to pick Owen up. She got pregnant young and she’s really struggling to figure out where she stands in life. She’s contrasted with Lesley’s husband Richard, played by John Slattery (from Mad Men), and her daughter Paula, played by Emily Meade, both of whom are going through life-changing moments. Richard works at a logging company about to lose its mill contract, in danger of closing down altogether, and Paula is trying to navigate being a teenager, which I think we can all agree is the worst.
Basically it’s a laundry list of depressing things that can go wrong and the things that can tear families apart in small towns. Luckily, it’s well-acted, so it’s pretty easy to get through, but that’s the last time I go into a movie called Bluebird expecting to hear a rendition of ‘Zippity Do Da’.
(Image: Jody Lee Lipes via EW.com)