The Big Year (2011) Film Review

Rating PG
Length 1h40
Release 2.12.2011
Director David Frankel
About Three avid bird-watchers pursue the winner’s title to achieve the world record of spotting the highest number of birds during the Big Year event as the title holds a special meaning for each one.
Moon: full moon spotting just before the closing of the film
Where to Watch: Disney+ (Star)

The Good

  • It is a charming film, from start to finish. For me, it’s on par with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013), Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014) and the wonderful Simon Birch (1998).
  • It’s so hard to describe, but there’s a sincerity in this film that I wasn’t expecting. This film surprised me, and that does not happen very often. I think part of that is having three men well known for their comedy and stripping that away while also putting the viewer in a position of uncertainty.
  • The biggest win this film has for me, is how you have the plot revolve around a competition, yet the plot does not go down the route of having them sabotage each other. I must admit, I put it on expecting Bride Wars (2009) of the birding world. Instead, what we get is a healthy competition, exploration of dreams, deconstruction and reconstruction of relationships and an uplifting feeling.
  • The music, while cheesy, is perfect. So many songs about birds; who knew? It wasn’t overwhelming; it fit the storytelling.
  • The cast in this film is incredible. You have the main three; Wilson, Martin and Black. I cannot tell you how much I loved these three together. Each had their moment to shine and they are the perfect example of an ensemble. However, it doesn’t stop there, the supporting cast is full to bursting with people that will have you reaching for IMDB.

The Bad

  • This is a very personal thing, but I could have done with less Rosamund Pike. it’s not that I don’t like her, I just don’t like her playing an American. Her accent is okay, but because I know she’s English, my ears register it as a cringe-worthy fake.
  • On a similar note, I find it a travesty that Anjelica Huston and Jim Parsons were not used more.
  • There was a visual cue to any flash-backs that occurred early in the film, however it was discarded near the hour mark. This was a shame , as it was used so little that it felt less like an artistic choice and more of an error in filming.

The Ugly

  • There will be tears for those who leak at pulled heartstrings. Quite a few points in each of the three men’s lives will most certainly have a lump in the throat, if not a hand reaching for the tissues.

Final Thoughts

This is a lazy Sunday afternoon film that will leave your heart warm, your eyes wet and a smile on your face.

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