After a lot of reading, researching, and mindless scrolling on the internet, we have decided that the ending of the movie Birdman, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, remains ambiguous. Birdman was released in 2014, and years later, fans who have watched the film still can’t seem to fathom the explanation behind that ending. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance has been nominated for several awards and even won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Cinematography.
Additionally, it was chosen as the opening film for the 71st Venice International Film Festival. The film was released in four North American theatres on 17th October 2014, followed by a nationwide release in almost 857 theatres on 14th November 2014. The romance drama film, Birdman has a run time of one hour and fifty-nine minutes. Made with a budget of $16.5 – 18 million, Birdman earned $103.2 million at the box office. Birdman is now also available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
The cast of the movie Birdman was blessed with the greatest actors like Michael Keaton, who played the role of Riggan Thomson, and Benjamin Kanes, who played the young Riggan/ Birdman. Other actors who became a part of this movie are Emma Stone as Sam Thomson, Amy Ryan as Sylvia Thomson, Zach Galifianakis as Jake, Edward Norton as Mike Shiner, Andrea Riseborough as Laura Alburn, and Naomi Watts as Lesley Truman. Furthermore, Lindsay Duncan, Merritt Wever, Jeremy Shamos, Bill Camp, Damian Young, Paula Pell, Donna Lynne Champlin, Craig Mums Grant, Jackie Hoffman, and Susan Blackwell starred in Birdman.
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Birdman: Plot Of The Movie
The film Birdman is a drama film mixed with magical realism elements. It follows Riggan Thomson, a faded actor famous for his role as Birdman, a superhero. He starred in the film trilogy based on Birdman from 1989 to 1992. Several years have passed, and he is trying to regain what he once had: recognition. He is writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway adaptation of Raymond Carver’s short story What We Talk About When We Talk About Love to earn back that mad recognition amongst his fans. But, there’s something that bothers him a lot.
His alter-ego Birdman haunts him, and he constantly sees visions of the character. He battles against his persuasive pull. The Birdman voice also wants him to return to blockbuster cinema, and it is adamant about making him believe that he is essential to Riggan’s identity.
Riggan’s best friend and lawyer, Jake, is producing the play, which co-stars Laura and Lesley. Sam, Riggan’s daughter, a recovering drug addict trying to get her life together, is working as an assistant in the play. Sam is always fighting her feelings, torn between love and hate for her father. Riggan’s other co-star, Mike, is a bit unhinged and believes real life to be fictional and perceives the stage as real life. Mike struggles with his Birdman voice and his acting career simultaneously, but his play becomes a success on the opening night.
Birdman: Ending Of The Film
After the successful opening night, Riggan decides to talk to his ex-wife Sylvia Thomson. He tells her that he loves her and their daughter Sam. He confesses that he wishes he had been more present in their life when they were married. During his conversation, he also reveals the Birdman voice haunts him, but his ex-wife ignores it and talks about an attempted suicide. Riggan reveals that he had attempted to drown himself in the ocean after she had caught him having an affair. All this while, Sylvia observes that Riggan is being eerily calm.
He leaves to do his vocal warm-ups while loading a real gun. In lieu of the prop he was supposed to use in the play, he takes his gun and shoots himself after delivering his final monologue. However, the audience gives his performance a standing ovation, thinking it was his best act.
When Riggan wakes up in the hospital room, he learns he survived his attempted suicide. His daughter visits him. He is informed that the play was hugely successful and received amazing reviews. Since he had shot his nose straight off it, doctors had to work on it hence the bandages on his face. In the final scene, Riggan walks to the hospital window. He looks at the birds flying high over the city, and a smile takes birth on his face. Opening the window, he climbs onto the ledge. Sam enters, and on seeing an empty hospital room, she runs to the window. She looks down, then up at the sky, and smiles.
Birdman: Explanation Of The Ending
The film ends, leaving fans to interpret the meaning of the final scene. Sam’s perspective of fame and popularity clashed with Riggan’s need to be accepted as a serious artist. Riggan wanted to get rid of his alter ego, but it was a fact that people knew him for Birdman, and it would remain a part of his career forever. Perhaps he accepted that could be both Birdman as well as Riggan Thomson, but ridding himself of one of either would be ridding himself of both.
From this, we can conclude that Riggan dies on stage, and whatever follows the next day is merely a death dream. Or it could be Riggan survives the gunshot, which could also end up with two outcomes. Either he is actually Birdman, giving him his ability to fly. Or he attempts suicide again. In the end, it’s all about what fans choose to believe.
Birdman has an approval rating of 91% and an 8.5 rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2015, The Guardian also named it one of the top fifty films of the decade. Birdman is a phenomenal take on acting, identity, transformation, and the mysterious effects of superheroes. Although it is believed to be a one-long-shot film, it was revealed that it has just been edited to look like that. There’s no doubt that Birdman is really one of the best films, albeit the ending that will leave you thinking. Whether you want a hint of magic in your life or a story about a struggling actor, Birdman is a treat for all.
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