Dr Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets
Based on Evan Roskos’s eponymous book, Dr Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets is a sweet coming-of-age film directed by Yaniv Raz. It depicts the life of a teenager crippled by anxiety and depression who must deal with the dramas of his dysfunctional family while also learning to handle the overpowering feelings of first love.
16 year-old James Whitman struggles to get through each day. He tries to motivate himself by reciting the verses of namesake poet Walt Whitman but his literary idol is of little help when he feels overwhelmed by life and petrified by social interactions. The teenager becomes especially nervous around his classmate and love interest Sophie, who seems to reciprocate his feelings. Everything becomes more complicated for the protagonist when his older sister mysteriously disappears. His parents’ arguments become more heated and the young man finds that the only way he can cope is by turning to Dr Bird, an imaginary pigeon therapist who he pours his heart out to. Deeply concerned for his sister and in need of her support, James embarks on a mission to find her. The journey proves to be revealing as it requires him to confront his fears and come face to face with himself.
Quirky and lighthearted, the feature uses fun graphics, eye-catching costumes and visually striking settings to establish its mood. The story, however, never really becomes three-dimensional. The initial scenes set up a promising plot but the events take on a caricature-like quality when the action kicks in and ultimately favours style over authenticity. Dr Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets paints a vivid and perhaps romanticised image of living with anxiety. The adolescent’s mental chatter, disassociation and crippling doubts are depicted effectively for the most part. However, the director’s numerous stylistic interventions, combined with the introduction of too many elements in the plot, give the picture a cluttered feel. Its fresh approach, nevertheless, will likely appeal to young adults who may identify with the protagonist’s emotional experience and delight in the movie’s playful tone.
Dr Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets is released digitally on demand on 21st June 2021.
Watch the trailer for Dr Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets here: