‘Birds of Paradise’ leaves less than idyllic impression

By Alexis Newman

“Birds of Paradise,” a recently released drama on Amazon Prime, delivers on its promise for drama, and the synopsis hints at potentially entertaining intrigue, but the question is whether the execution meets the expectations.

The movie centers around Kate Sanders (Diana Silvers), an American girl who dreams of being part of the Opéra national de Paris despite coming from modest means. While training at a ballet school in Paris for a chance to win a competition that will make her dreams come true, she meets Marine (Kristine Froseth), another ballet dancer who is known for excellent dancing skills and is seemingly Kate’s polar opposite. After a violent first impression, the two are rivals for a short time before becoming friends due to them sharing a room and going to a nightclub together. 

As the competition progresses and the stakes rise, Kate becomes desperate. She initially entered into a pact with Marine that dictated that the two work together and either win together or lose together, but Kate finds other methods that send her to the top faster: doing drugs, having affairs and taking advantage of any opportunities that arise— even if it means pushing others down in the process.

Meanwhile, Marine struggles with the death of her twin brother, the lack of support from her family for pursuing her real passion in interpretive dance, and the betrayal of her new closest confidante Kate. Marina and Kate both, throughout the movie, seem unable to pinpoint exactly where the boundaries of their relationship lie, whether they’re friends, sisters or lovers.

Overall, “Birds of Paradise” is too full of clichés and the protagonist is too frustrating for it to be a smash hit. While the film has a high-quality look, the shiny veneer is simply a façade for moderately interesting version of a plot you’ve probably seen in dozens of other movies. 

This certainly isn’t the worst movie to watch, and it has some redeeming qualities like beautiful dance sequences, a realistic dose of French speaking and an easy to follow narrative. Unfortunately, though, the cons just may outweigh the pros in this case. Anyone looking to form their own opinion should make sure to mind the R rating as some content may be upsetting to some viewers.

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