The elements of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein are so timeless and malleable that this year they have inspired two artistically successful but very different variations. Bomani J. A few months after the release of Story’s The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster comes director and co-writer Laura Moss’s Birth/Rebirth, an even more beneficial take on Shelley’s tale of scientific hubris. It is a twisted story about motherhood, featuring two seemingly opposite characters who are involved in the resurrection of a girl. Marin Ireland and Judy Reyes complement each other perfectly as women whose single-minded devotion to their daring experiment has disastrous consequences. Watch Birth/Rebirth full movie online in HD quality on Myflixer with no subscription for free.
Birth/Rebirth presents the two characters in an effective sequence that crosses over to show their different personalities and interests. They both work at the same Bronx hospital, but pathologist Rose works alone in the morgue, dispassionately dissecting bodies and quietly taking the organs home in a giant suitcase to use for her own purposes. Nurse Celie works in the maternity ward, providing reassurance to worried mothers and serving as an advocate when insensitive male doctors enthusiastically order unnecessary procedures.
Her domestic life is also quite contradictory. Rose goes to a bar where she propositions a man who attacks her and then mechanically collects her sperm and blood while she dissects corpses. Celie picks up her six-year-old daughter Lila from the hospital nursery and listens to every detail of her day. There’s no reason for these two women to become friends, but Birth/Rebirth soon brings them together after a terrible tragedy.
A sense of fear develops in Moss when Celie hastily leaves a sick Leela with a neighbor so she can get to the hospital in time. At first, Lila has a fever, but something is clearly wrong, and it becomes heartbreaking when Celie, whose phone is not working, suddenly learns that her daughter has died of bacterial meningitis. When Lila’s body turns up at the morgue, Rose sees it as an opportunity to advance her investigation, but Celie is dissatisfied with the bureaucratic obstacles preventing her from claiming her daughter’s body. She follows Rose to her apartment, where Lila is on a ventilator and is apparently still alive.
Birth/Rebirth is still full of sordid and brutal events, and Moss doesn’t shy away from the horror of what Rose and Celie are going through. As Leela begins to revive further, she doesn’t become the kind of homicidal monster familiar from other horror films about bringing the dead back to life, but she’s also not herself. Lister gives an impressive performance as a confused, almost animalistic version of Leela, whose handful of missing teeth give her a particularly feral appearance. The monster is a tragic figure in Shelley’s story, and so is Leela, even more so considering how emotionally invested Shelley is in getting her daughter back to normal.
Birth/Rebirth is a dark drama and horror movie. It focuses on the journey of the characters rather than a series of shocking scenes. However, when the horror appears, it is even more powerful as the viewer understands that everything is at stake. The story of Frankenstein is about man’s need to take control of life itself, and both Shelley and Moss know that that is fundamentally impossible. The tragedy and power of Birth/Rebirth lies in the sacrifices its characters make to achieve that impossible goal.