Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Alejandro G. Iñárritu

IMDb: 7,7

SMDb: 6,8

We all strive to reach our upper selves and try to overcome our inferiority complex with having considerable successes. Riggan is just one of us, he is a character who tries to reach his best version even if he left behind his best version years ago with the role of “birdman”.


He has a huge conflict inside which can be evaluated as the war of id and superego. The conflict between his inner voice and his rationale is not only create stress, but also this conflict destroys his life. His inner voice always tells him to be a better self, this inner voice is aggressive and selfish. In my opinion, this inner self is also about the narcistic personality of him. There are some scenes which support the idea that this inner self is selfish and narcistic such as the one in which he flies. The inner voice of him says that he is above all other people. He is obsessed with being the best one. It is also showed when another actor came to the theater: Mike Shiner. Riggan is so blind to see the group successes, he wants to succeed himself. He only sees the situations regarding to his own interests and desires. He has also a rational side which tries to suppress his aggressiveness, but his inner voice is so strong to silence.

Missing Old Better Self

It is not that easy to accept that he cannot be a superstar as he were before. In my perspective, it is the hardest scenario for any person. Imagine that you were at the top once and now you are getting lower. It is hard to accept you are not the best one anymore. This can be why old people always remember their best times and always tell stories about those times. It is also difficult for them to accept the destructiveness of getting older and not being the one you were once. Riggan, as an actress had his biggest success -the role of Birdman- years ago and now he plays and directs in theater. He could not remain on the agenda anymore.

Relationship with the Daughter

He unconsciously aims to be a better dad for his daughter Sam. In his perspective being a better dad consists of having more power and fame. Since Sam flings in his teeth that he is not a “Birdman” anymore and he is not on the agenda in this era, he feels distracted and still has a hope to be a famous and strong man again.


A lot of mirror motive was used in the movie which shows the narcissistic perspective of the starring character. Moreover, he has some superpowers, and he can fly in some scenes. In my perspective, these superpowers were only illusions. He dreams to fly and have superpowers so that he can be better than all other people. On the other hand, his daughter tells him at every opportunity that he is not that perfect. We are not the center of the universe as human beings. Even if he agrees at some point, he ignores the fact that he is not the best person in the world.

There is a lot to say about the movie, but I will end my review here with the words of Sam:

“… 6 billion years that the Earth has been around… This is how long humans have been here: 150.000 years… That is all our ego and self-obsession are worth.”

As humans are not the center of universe, any individual is not a center of the world. We are only a tiny part of it. So, it may be better to isolate ourselves from our selfish thoughts.

  • I recommend this movie to the ones who value the self-actualization and who wonder the effects of decreasing self-actualization.
  • I do not recommend this movie to the ones who do not like the psychological concepts such as self-actualization and narcissism.

One thought on “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

  1. It’s a great movie and many psychological things to analyze! I liked this movie because of the not so usual plot and even ththe rhythm is different.

    Liked by 1 person

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