I tried , but there are tiny spoilers in here so proceed at your own volition.
It’s been a few days since I’ve seen Bird Box on Netflix. I’ll admit that for two days my mind was reeling with possibilities. What is Bird Box about? Parenting. social media, racism, death and grief, bad decisions, etc. have all been thrown out there as potential themes of Bird Box and all of them are correct. The way I see it, Bird Box is about the truth. Reality. When watching the movie, you automatically assume that this thing…let’s call it a “virus,” is something bad. Well duh! It’s causing people to commit suicide. But here’s the kicker…
Not everyone who sees the virus has this response. Some people who see it are so captivated that they spend their lives trying to get others to simply open their eyes. Unfortunately, these people are labeled crazy by the rest of the world. In the movie, these “crazies” never actually kill anyone. They simply force their eyes open…okay, except that one scene where Gary helps her with the scissors. But that’s just movie drama.
The main narrative really helps us understand that these people are hiding their eyes from the truth. Malorie is trying to protect her children and get them to safety. As parents, we try to keep our children from the harsh realities of the world for as long as we can. So, we blindfold them. We shield them and cover them. Although, we, ourselves, don’t know what we’re doing most of the time. It’s just our best shot in the dark. The blind leading the blind, as they say.
So, here are some truths I got from Bird Box…
When calamity hits, people don’t care about race, gender, class, or any of the other stuff that we allow to divide us when life is comfortable. In crisis, our biased tendencies are overcome by our need to survive. The house had representation of race, gender, sexuality, class, age, and personality differences that all came secondary to survival.
When we don’t understand people, we call them crazy. In the movie, Gary tells us that the people who can actually look at the virus had broken out of a mental institution. Was that even true given that…you know…it was Gary saying it. What is crazy, really?
The White man may be a selfish jerk but he’s not always wrong. Douglas was the epitome of everything we vilify white men for right now…and throughout history….and not necessarily unfairly….but he had his moment.
Motherhood changes you. No matter who you are before you have children, once that baby gets here you are transformed into a bad ass. (Sorry…but there was no other way to say it.) Moms are the toughest, most resilient, most resourceful people created by God…ever.
The inability to deal with the harsh realities of life can cause us great harm. In the book, those who commit suicide as a result of seeing the virus are deemed weak-minded by those who can look and survive. That little breadcrumb could have been helpful to us in the movie. But, for the sake of cinema there has to be a clear villain so…there you go.
Some people don’t have the ability to see the truth. Another difference between the book and the Bird Box movie concerns the blind people at the sanctuary. In the book, the people intentionally blinded themselves and their children to stay alive. They built a haven and refused to see the truth. The movie version is a much nicer and happier way to end things. It just feels better to believe that some people don’t have the ability to see truth.
We live in our Bird Boxes. When we don’t face the truth, we live in an enclosed reality. The birds who were in the little box throughout the movie are “set free” but only into a bigger box with more room to fly with other birds. We contain our lives with information to validate the thoughts we already have. We shield ourselves from any truth that upsets our reality.
You knew I was going to get around to Jesus at some point, right? Watching Bird Box left me pondering my own power and authority in Jesus Christ. The Bible promises us a full and victorious life in Christ. Jesus told us all the things we would be able to do with our spiritual power. Yet, we don’t experience that power fully because it is quite painful to embrace the harsh truths of the world around us. We know that many people doubt the presence of God simply because there is evil in the world. Christians sometimes contain ourselves, too, because of this evil. We live in a boxed Christianity that limits our faith to attending church on Sunday and hanging out with other people who believe what we believe and how we believe it.
Some of us…and by us I mean me… have built bigger sanctuaries of faith where we expand our arms, spin around, and laugh in the safe space we’ve created. We interact with different kinds of people…sure, to an extent and we move just close enough to the truth to remain comfy. Who wants to think about homeless, hungry children or social injustice plaguing the globe? No No, give us a blindfold so we don’t have to deal.
Bird Box asked me this question: “Have I built a sanctuary of safety so that I can laugh a little, see a few things, and let the chirping birds drown out the harsh reality of living in the world God created for me to take charge of?”
Kamryn Adams is an author, blogger, and screenwriter who is trying not to get diabetes or cuss. She’s a lot of things to a lot of people so somebody might get saved. Follow on Instagram