Birdman is a comedic drama that debuted in the United States on October 17, 2014.
When the show opens, Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is sitting in front of his dressing room window meditating in his underwear. He gets a call that tells him that they are ready for him on stage. When he arrives, there are several actors sitting around a table having a heated discussion. A lighting fixture falls on a male actors head and knocks him out. Riggan immediately becomes upset and walks off the stage. He refuses to return until they find him a good actor like Woody Harrelson. The producer, Jake (Jamahl Garrison-Lowe), introduces Riggan to Mike Shiner (Edward Norton), who is a popular actor.
Riggan’s past superhero role, Birdman is continuously coming out and belittling him and his effort to revive his career. He gets notice that rumors are circulating on social media that he is washed up, but he continues his quest trying to adapt Raymond Carver’s short story, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” to a broadway show.
Riggan’s girlfriend, Laura (Andrea Riseborough), tells him that she is pregnant, which he admits to being happy about. They are performing on stage, when drunk Mike becomes enraged and makes a total fool of himself. Riggans wants him fired, but Jake refuses to do so because they have so much money wrapped up into him. Mike tells him that it does not matter because it was only a premiere showing.
Riggan is experiencing financial difficulties, but still refuses to give up on his dream. During an onstage appearance Mike tries to force his live in girlfriend, Lesley (Naomi Watts), to have sex with him. They have a successful show, but she storms out afterwards and says that she is moving out.
Meanwhile, Riggan and his assistant daughter, Sam (Emma Stone), get into a heated discussion because he catches her smoking weed. He feels that she is trying to sabotage his career chances. She tells him that he is not important to society and everyone has soon forgot about him.
Riggan finds out that Mike did an interview for the newspaper and he decides to confront him about it. Mike tells him that he was not a famous actor and Riggan beats him with the newspaper. They soon begin to fight like children. When Riggan returns to his dressing room the Birdman tells him that he is a bitter coward, and his infantile adaptation is not going to be anything, but a failure.
Mike comes onto Sam and sweet talks her, until she agrees to have sex with him. The play is going on, when Riggan gets locked out, while getting his coat stuck in the door and is forced to run around the theatre in his undies. He walks through the theatre and confronts Mike and Lesley on the stage. Everyone finds his performance credible and they begin the applaud loudly. Sam reveals a video that has went viral to Riggan, which shows him in his undies.
Riggan meets one of the theater’s biggest critics and his personal enemy, Tabitha Dickinson (Lindsay Duncan), where they get into a heated argument. He gets drunk and goes on a flying adventure through New York City. During his drunken stupor the Birdman is actually encouraging him to pursue his dreams. Afterwards, he returns to the theatre and appears to be in such a peaceful state of mind. The theatre happens to be sold out and his dressing room is filled with flowers from his fans. He tells his ex-wife, Sylvia (Amy Ryan) that he loves her and regrets that he was not there for her and Sam.
Will Sam transform his failing play into a successful adaptation or will he be forced to give up on his dreams? Will him and Sam be able to meet in the middle and be daughter and father for real?
When the Birdman first started out I thought for a second about reconsidering my decision to watch it, but am very glad that I fought through these impulsive feelings and continued viewing the film. This is definitely a great film with wonderful cinematography. What a great comeback for Michael Keaton because he truly outdone himself in his role as the eccentric Birdman. This is a brilliant film that everyone should watch, but just know that you will probably need to watch it twice to understand it’s meaning. Birdman deserves an 8.5 out of 10.