Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance features actor Michael Keaton as a former movie star Riggan Thomson who is most remembered for his comic book hero Birdman on the big screen, which is implied to be in the 1990s. Two decades later, Thomson is no longer a well-esteemed or popular Hollywood commodity. Thomson is broke, separated from his wife, and estranged from his daughter, as well as forgotten by his fans. He sets out to prove that he’s not worthless and opts to write, direct and star in Broadway show. Harry Dalian

Thomson is upset with one the actors in his production and makes a last minute replacement. Impressed by the new actor’s sincerity and authenticity, Thomson hires the new actor within 24 hours to the first preview performance of his play. This doesn’t seem to be the best idea when the new actor in the play throws a fit and inevitably throws Thomson into a spiral of self-doubt, worry, and fear.

Birdman was written and directed by filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. The main cast is incredibly strong throughout the film and ever single actor or actress receives their moment to shine within the film. Keaton’s performance leads the team of actors with a performance that is made all the more intriguing given his own former A-list superhero past. Keaton’s sincerity and talent are the true foundations for his memorable performance. The actor has had a long and successful career with several iconic roles, but Birdman features some of his best and most powerful work to date.

Costars Edward Norton and Emma Stone are both given rich, complex characters to unravel. Norton’s role is an especially fun endeavor as he is cast as the secondary actor in Thomson’s play. Norton has some genuinely brazen scenes and a thoroughly thoughtful platform to reflect on the art of acting. Sam, played by Emma Stone, isn’t much of a stretch for the actress, however provides a grand opportunity to play off of a supporting cast of Hollywood veterans. Stone absolutely shines in an especially intense monologue which is performed in a single take.

Other actors that are prominently feature are: Lindsay Duncan, Amy Ryan, Naomi Watts, and Zach Galifianakis. Each actor provides a quality performance and also sharp commentary on themes int he film. Some key themes include different aspirations for love and acceptance. The cast serves its primary function, however a few story lines are left unresolved as some moviegoers may find frustrating.

Overall, Inarritu has given a mesmerizing tale of art and love in a time of fast-paced gossip and viral internet news and videos. Bird man is not going to be for everyone, however potential viewers who are hoping for a lighthearted comic book movie culture feel will probably be surprised and possibly put-off. Those open to the film’s experimental style will find Birdman provides an inventive exploration of family, artistry, power, and prestige, and most importantly about when we talk about love.