Birdman, the film that just won an Oscar for best picture is interesting, enigmatic, provocative and discussion-worthy.

Life and death are illusions,” says Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman’s director, “We are in a constant state of transformation.”

Birdman gets at that; it approaches the transformational questions of life, “How do we live so as to matter? How do we come to see ourselves as important? How do we win the affections of others?”

The bird man, like all of us, can’t quite figure that out. The movie presents identity and and success and mental health as elusive, especially for a has-been like the Birdman. Our unique sense of self, existing in our minds, existing in our fantasies of success, in the eyes of our family members, our friends, the press, our fans — vanity, vanity, vanity, says the bird man, except in my fantasy!

For you who are squeamish about the ugliness of the ego’s personal angst, any of you suffering identity bifurcation, for you who hate movies where the ending leaves you going “What the heck just happened?” skip it.

But for you who do not require a movie to have a logical, sequential, expected flow of events, you who like to chew on the cud of the ever-shifting human condition, who have dreamed of flying your way to success, for any of you who love to grapple with our tentative sense of self, for any of you who wrestle over our constantly morphing awareness of self-value, our craving for love and our willingness to do most anything to get it, you might want to check it out.

Birdman is as beautiful as Michael Keaton’s dreamy flight over New York, as terrifyingly gorgeous his career falling like a fireball though heavy clouds, as lovely as a few touching scenes of tenderness with his ex-wife and his daughter, and as ugly as the narrow, concrete underground halls of an aging theatre, a string of angry “f” words, brutal competition for attention, unfulfilled emotional need and mental illness.

For me, I get it. We all wonder, “Do I matter?” and we all grapple with ways to answer, “Yes, maybe, for the moment, I hope.”

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