Sandra Bullock worked closely with a blind instructor for Bird Box


Bird Box
Bird Box received 45 million streams in a week, making it the most streamed Netflix show ever. There was so much buzz that there were conspiracy theories that Netflix was creating bot accounts to start memes. (Spoiler: they weren’t.) It wasn’t an exceptional movie, but it had all the elements that I love in a film: horror, big stars, a post-apocalyptic setting and a core mystery. Plus it was free and I watched it at home. I wanted to know what happened next and I was never offended at the dialogue or plot, like that terrible Will Smith Netflix movie last year, Bright. (I didn’t watch more than half of that.)

It occurred to me whether filmmakers took blind people and the blind experience into account. It can be considered offensive to portray blindness as a doomsday scenario. (There was a 2008 Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo movie, Blindness, which was criticized for portraying blind people as depraved.) Sandra did work with a blind instructor, who told her that blind people would like to be recognized for their abilities. He also taught her how to move around using other senses.

[Bullock] revealed she also worked closely with a blind instructor to learn how to move and react without her eyesight for the Netflix film.

“I said, ‘What is it that the [blind] community wants represented on screen?’ He said, ‘I’d like for us to finally see our abilities rather than our [limitations],’” she explained. “It’s mind-blowing what abilities they have even though they don’t have their sight.”

She continued, “In the few times that we met, [we] were able to take away a few lessons like if we were blindfolded we could walk in this room, we could tell you were the people were, where the walls were if there was an object there.”

“Your body senses things that we just don’t use because we have our sight,” she added. “It’s pretty amazing.”

[From People]

Given that we haven’t heard the same criticism of Bird Box as there was of Blindness (that may be due to the plot however) they must have done a decent job.

Spoilers for Bird Box
I read in a thread on Twitter that the book ended with people gouging their eyes out. (Not the leads, just some of the sighted people at the school for the blind where they found refuge.) This ending was a lot sunnier than that and I thought it was a little too perfect. I like horror movies to end with the suggestion that things can go south again. Also, we never saw the monsters on screen we just heard them. That made sense as they took the form of the person’s fears. However there was a plan to show one of the monsters. Director Susanne Bier said that they shot a scene with a green snake-like monster with a creepy baby face but that it ended up being cut. The monster seemed out of place and made everyone crack up laughing.

Also, how good was Trevante Rhodes? I want to see him in all the things.

Bird Box

Bird Box

Special screening of 'Bird Box' in New York

Photos credit: WENN and Netflix

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36 Responses to “Sandra Bullock worked closely with a blind instructor for Bird Box”

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  1. Franklymydear... says:

    My whole family watched it together on Saturday night, not knowing anything about it and we really liked it. I wish Sandra Bullock’s face wasn’t quite so frozen, but everyone else was awesome…those kids…OMG, especially the girl. I was crying!

    • Jessica says:

      Sandra has deep lines in her forehead and around her eyes. Not sure what people are looking at.

  2. ElleBee says:

    I watched it because of all the internet memes. I’m not sure I could be in a house with Trevante for 5 years and not have 6 more children tbh.

  3. Coco says:

    Spoiler Ahead:

    I’m one of those people that will totally suspend disbelief in an unbelievable movie (reality wise) but then get pissed about a ridiculous, insignificant plot point. My husband laughs every time I point one out and says “oh, that’s the thing you can’t believe in this sci-fi, fantasy film?” In Birdbox it was the two characters going into labor within minutes of each other even though their due dates were several weeks apart. Is pregnancy like your period where supposedly if you’re in close quarters with other menstruating women long enough you’ll get on the same cycle? Gah! I know why they did that for the plot but it seems ridiculous.

    • Brittney says:

      Both women were preparing for birth in one of the most high-stress environments imaginable, and stress can induce labor. That part wasn’t so far-fetched for me.

      • Coco says:

        That makes sense to a certain degree. I’m pregnant and also have a toddler so overall I feel incredibly vulnerable if some major catastrophe were to occur. It’s actually something I think of often, watching Birdbox didn’t help! In the recent Northern California fires, a woman went into labor while trying to flee the flames. Stuff of my nightmares right now. I can definitely see going into labor early due to an incredibly high stress situation like in the movie, it was that it was within minutes of each other that seemed far fetched to me. Which is my husband’s whole point about me glomming on to an insignificant plot point in an otherwise unbelievable film. Yet, it’s what I keep thinking about a week after watching it.

    • ElleBee says:

      The thing that bothered me was that they used a different pair of birds (without red) at the end of the movie

    • Celebitchy says:

      I thought that was somehow due to that freak being around and that it was a supernatural thing because of the creatures. Also I thought pregnant women might be immune.

      • Coco says:

        That’s an interesting idea. I wonder if the creatures knew there were people in the house after their supply run and one pregnant lady since Bullock’s character had gone along. A second pregnant lady was just a bonus. He was really into the babies. That part was awful.

      • Veronica S. says:

        The movie definitely seemed to imply a more malicious tone to the creature’s behavior. In the novel, it was less clear whether they were actively malevolent or if the reactions of humans was just a horrifically unintended symptom of their eldritch appearance/abilities.

      • Erinn says:

        Ahahha god. I haven’t watched it, and just reading this portion of the posts has made me comfortable with my decision. I’m WAY too easily creeped out.

      • Jus sayin says:

        I wondered if Sandra Bullock’s character was immune because she was already facing her greatest fear by having the baby, and that baby relying solely on her?

  4. Chef Grace says:

    Have not watched. But the book was just chilling and left me unsettled for days.

  5. Mel says:

    The little girl broke my heart. She was so great. I hope to see her in more films without her being crushed by the Hollywood machine and stage parents because to me, she was one of the revelations of the film. Her and Trevante Rhodes for sure!
    The film was pretty good.
    Nothing to write home about in my opinion but it was enjoyable.

    • lucy2 says:

      She was excellent, as was Trevante. I hope to see him in more stuff too.

      I thought it was ok to good, not great, and the ending was a bit too tidy for me as well. I don’t really like end of the world type stuff and have seen and read way too much of it lately, but it was still entertaining. I’d say A Quiet Place, which is kind of similar in theme, is better though.

      I was pleased to see the director is a woman, and to see Danielle McDonald from Dumplin’ again, she’s doing well with Netflix.

  6. jessamine says:

    watched it yesterday with the SO and we both loved it! Suspenseful, very well cast, and respectful of the source material.

    Note about Blindness: it’s been close to a decade so please correct me if I’m misremembering this, but the movie didn’t portray the blind as depraved it portrayed sighted people who had that privilege taken away from them en masse as depraved …which, considering how certain subgroups act in the wake of MeToo when layers of privilege wayyy less fundamental than one of the five senses are shaved back, is not wholly unreasonable?

    • Moneypenny says:

      Thank you. I haven’t seen the movie, but the book is one of my favorites. It is about sighted people becoming blind and society descending into chaos. The book did not suggest that blind people were depraved in any way.

  7. Jenns says:

    I read the book and didn’t love it. To me, it was just a mix between The Happening and The Village. I did check out the movie and thought it was fine.

    I did highly enjoy Michael Harriot’s take on The Root on how this movie is about how white people don’t want to see racism.

    • Renee2 says:

      I laughed my ass off at his review and then was pissed because the comments wouldn’t load for me and they are often the cherry on top of his pieces. I know that it was a bit tongue in cheek but I keep on thinking about it.

    • Veronica S. says:

      In fairness, the author wrote the first draft before The Happening came out, so that’s just a matter of bad timing, but the Village connection isn’t one I thought about until you pointed it out. The performances are what carry the movie.

      Haven’t read the review on The Root, but I did give the film flak in my own review for killing off all of the non-white house members. Like, I get it. It’s a Sandra Bullock video. But still. They could have easily remedied the situation by having one or both of the children have non-white paternity.

    • Maggie says:

      Yes! THIS! I was like, Didn’t M. Night Sham.. already make this movie with Marky Mark?

  8. manda says:

    Trevante Rhodes is soooooo deliciously handsome. I had not ever seen any of his other stuff, so that was nice. :)

    SPOILERS (I’m talking about how the criticism of how it ends here)–As for your take on the ending, yes, it did end in a sunny way, but I don’t really think they are truly safe there. First, it appears that right outside the school the monsters are there, and they can talk to you! So there is always a chance they’ll convince someone to look and that is scary. Second, what is it about the indoors that makes them safe? Those things are somewhat corporeal, as shown by the car sensing their presence, so it would seem to me that they could get inside somehow. Also, none of the people that are driving around and forcing people’s eyes open know about the blind school? And do they have like hydroponic farming set up somewhere, because how are they going to feed everyone? I find it hard to believe that they are safe in that place at all

    • Coco says:

      SPOILERS

      I hated the ending because it was the neat, tidy package about this “magical” place with room for everyone. When they handed her the pile of clean, folded clothes to change into I was thinking how do they wash all the clothes for ALL these people? How do they feed all these people? Water? After Sandra’s character has been scrounging for food for four people for five years, how does this place support 100+ while still inviting more to come stay with them?

      But again, I’ll get all worked up over laundry yet totally believe there is a creature that will force you to commit suicide if you look at them. 🙄

    • Veronica S. says:

      I think it ended ambiguously enough to avoid maudlin. There’s no fixing the world, but there has to be hope for people’s struggles to mean anything. Melanie’s entire character transition is navigating the space between what measures one will take to survive versus whether survival has any purpose if we sacrifice humane traits and personal connections to achieve it. It’s not a perfect film by any means, but I appreciate it’s not yet another grim dark apocalyptic story where humans are the real monsters. Humans can be when they want to, but there is plenty of historical precedent that suggests plenty of us choose otherwise.

  9. Adrien says:

    of course this is the most streamed netflix movie. they have been promoting this thing round the clock everywhere neglecting their 800 new original movies and series.

  10. Veronica S. says:

    The film is more human study than true horror given the pacing, but Bullock’s performance was excellent. I did appreciate that the portrayals of blind individuals was more realistically competent. They move with caution but otherwise function just fine. I’m actually surprised the movie didn’t follow the logical conclusion the book did that some people would willingly blind themselves for immunity. Too grim, maybe?

    (We won’t get started on Blindness. It’s a horribly misogynistic story. Bird Box is vastly superior in that regard.)

    Of course, the flip side is that it’s use of the mentally ill as “apostles” of the monsters has extremely problematic undertones. At the least, it needed to be clearer about what drove them to behave that way.

    • Kebbie says:

      I didn’t understand why people weren’t just blinding themselves once they figured out how the monsters/creatures worked. They’d rather live in constant fear or die than lose their sight? It didn’t make sense to me.

      And I’m sure it’d be unfathomable to intentionally blind your kids, but if it meant their survival…wouldn’t that be the only option? Is it really better to rely on a five year old to obey you to not take off their blindfold?

  11. Notyouraveragehousewife says:

    I loved the movie ending, personally. In movies where the world is ending it’s typically “only the strong survive” “survival of the fittest” etc. but in Bird Box, their disability is what saved them. Their disability became an ability and gave them the upper hand to survive. That was so profound to me. My daughter is severely disabled and I spend the majority of my time with children and young adults with all types of disabilities so I found the ending quite beautiful. I just started the book and I can’t wait for a more detailed account of the story. The memes are hilarious and I can’t get enough of them!

    • Veronica S. says:

      Bird Box seems intent on actively undermining the idea of “strongest survive,” honestly. The characters who behave with the most brutal pragmatism (Melanie, Douglas) ultimately wind up going against their own survivalist mentality to protect others. The latter, in particular, could have fled after surviving the encounter in the garage, but he came back to save Melanie and the newborns, even though he turned out right about how dangerous Gary was. It’s a surprisingly thoughtful film in that regard because it’s not denying that caring about others is inherently risky, can even be dangerous, but it is still necessary because human life needs emotional connections to be meaningful.

      • Notyouraveragehousewife says:

        I like your take on it! I was discussing the movie with a group of friends over dinner on Sunday and we all had different interpretations of it. I love how the movie sparked interesting and smart conversations about the meaning of it all.

      • Jessica says:

        It’s Mallorie not Melanie. You confused me for a bit. But I see your point.

  12. raincoaster says:

    Great, now I hope that trainer can work with whoever’s doing those Dove commercials next, because that “blind” beauty blogger can’t keep her eyes off the camera.

  13. janice says:

    Am I the only one that is disturbed by the eyeliner and full face of makeup on her face every day and night? I absolutely cannot take an actor seriously that cannot act without a full face of makeup. No haggard face, no bloodshot eyes, no unfilled lips? For me, I just cannot get past the makeup when it looks like he/she’s got a team of experts behind the set.