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Dr. Bird’s Advice to Sad Poets | 2021 | R | – 5.4.5

content-ratingsWhy is “Dr. Bird’s Advice to Sad Poets” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “sexual material, language, teen partying and a graphic nude image.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes some nudity of a male statue, several discussions of a sex cult and their activity, scenes of teens kissing, petting and implied sex, many scenes of a teen having panic attacks, several scenes of a man arguing with his family members and hitting them a couple of times, a couple of scuffles, under-age drinking, teen drug use, and 3 F-words, 11 not-fully-enunciated F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


A sixteen-year-old student (Lucas Jade Zumann) handles anxiety, depression and first love by seeking advice from a pigeon he calls Dr. Bird (voiced by Tom Wilkinson). In his imagination, and in real time, he goes on an emotional search for his missing sister and seeks a better understanding of his family. Also with Lisa Edelstein, Jason Isaac, Taylor Russell, Chase Stokes and David Arquette. Directed by Yaniv Raz. A few lines of dialogue are spoken in French without translation. [Running Time: 1:49]

Dr. Bird’s Advice to Sad Poets SEX/NUDITY 5

 – A marble male statue is unveiled in a museum, revealing an extremely long erection and large testicles as well as bare abdomen and thighs; we hear some gasps off-screen. A teen girl dances slowly on a platform, wearing a transparent raincoat over a bra and short-shorts (we see cleavage, bare shoulders, abdomen, nearly bare buttocks and bare thighs); two other teen girls nearby wear miniskirts. A couple of teen girls wear mid-thigh length miniskirts and another wears short-shorts ending at the upper thigh in a few scenes.
 A teen boy and a teen girl sneak into the dark building of a sex cult, where teen girls and teen boys wear long robes and kneel on the floor while a man wearing an open lounging robe (we see his chest and abdomen) preaches telling them , “Energy is sex and Eros the god of love for the tantric tango”; the teens fall on their hands and knees, get up and dance around him in a circle fast, grunting, and then lie on their backs on the floor with their knees and feet up (no nudity is shown), breathing fast as the man calls out, “In out, in out, in out, in out.”
 A teen girl driving a car licks a teen passenger boy’s ear, they kiss for several seconds as she drives, and she slaps him on the rear as he looks for something in the back seat. A teen girl licks her finger and sticks it in a teen boy’s ear and he jumps. A teen boy and a teen girl kiss briefly in a few scenes; they hold hands in one scene and we see images of an atomic bomb exploding (sexual excitement is suggested); the teen says to himself that he wants a supply of the teen girl’s love liquid.
 A wife at a dinner table sits on her husband’s lap and they kiss for several seconds as their teen son watches. A teen boy says, “I love you” to a teen girl and she kisses his cheek briefly. Three teen boys exit a bedroom, each one closing the door behind him (suggesting a three-way sex at a party). A young man takes a teen girl off-screen, saying, “We’re going upstairs” (sex is implied). A teen girl shouts that a man is the head of a sex cult, throws hot tea into his face as he shouts, and runs out of the building screaming. A man in a TV show eats a large banana in close-up as two teen boys look at the screen intensely. In a flashback, a mother gives her fourteen-year-old son a book about Twisted Sister to “learn about sex” (the boy looks confused).
 A teen boy asks a man about the boy’s missing sister and the man says they enjoyed their “holy places” together, but had no relationship. A teen boy asks a teen girl to have sex and she turns away and sobs; she says that her ex-boyfriend spread lies about her sexual activity, including a reference she does not understand, like “Kentucky Tractor Pull, Canadian Porch Swing, and Cleveland Accordion.” A teen girl and a teen boy at school tell each other that they have never had sex.


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Dr. Bird’s Advice to Sad Poets VIOLENCE/GORE 4

 – Many scenes and flashbacks occur in dimly lit rooms in a home and school, in hallways, and in dance clubs, all backed by eerie music. A teen boy suffering from panic attacks speaks with an imaginary pigeon that he consults as his psychiatrist, and a male voice-over speaks as the bird in several scenes.
 A teen girl and teen boy sneak into a dark dance club, a man chases them, scuffles with the teen boy and they roll on the floor (no one is injured). We hear that a boy’s sister disappeared while we see a few flashbacks that show the father shouting at the teen girl and slapping her hard in the face twice, as well as arguing with and belittling his wife in front of their children a few times.
 A woman sits in a dark kitchen, looking depressed. A teen boy tells a bird that he no longer wants to live, but does not attempt suicide; he walks outside and waist deep into a muddy pond and then gets back out. A man and a woman in a TV show shout, push each other, and curse for several seconds in a few scenes. A teen boy becomes anxious and a close-up shows many tiny black butterflies flying inside his eyes; we hear his heart pounding many times throughout the film and his thoughts clashing inside his mind as we see images of bacteria under a microscope and muddy ground. A teen boy sees and hears a bird talking to him from a TV show; then the bird flies off.
 A husband calls his wife and daughter useless or parasites for not bringing money into the home by means of hard work and that their art (paintings and poetry) is a waste of time. A teen boy asks for professional help for his anxiety and depression, but his father denies him help and tells him to swallow his emotions. A teen boy argues with his father loudly in several scenes and with his mother in a few scenes. A teen boy argues with a male friend and a female friend at school a few times. A teen boy argues loudly with his teen sister after finding her in New York City. A teen boy asks his parents if his teen sister is a cocaine addict or a drug dealer or a pole dancer and the mother shouts; the boy asks his father later and is told that the girl is no longer a part of the family. A teen boy sees and hears a painting of Walt Whitman talking to him, saying, “I am mystery.” A teen boy sees his father throw a remote control into a TV screen, forcing a blinking test pattern to appear that sends the boy an imaginary message to find his lost sister. A red paintball and a yellow paintball hit separate trees during a game; a narrator says families hate each other and shoot paintballs at each other on weekends. A flashback shows a young girl giving her little brother a toy bird that she tells him, “Eats bad dreams.” On TV, we hear that many soldiers died in a war by being blown up. A man shouts and curses on a telephone call with a business associate. We hear that a woman’s father died (no cause is given).
 A teen boy looks pale at school, runs out into a wooded area and then rushes into his house; he runs to the bathroom and with his back to the camera, kneels before the toilet and we hear coughing, gagging, vomiting, and something plopping into the water (we do not see any material). A girl laughs and spits champagne onto the floor. A teen boy and a teen girl spit in their hands and shake hands, but we see no spittle. A teen boy in a bathroom brushes his teeth with a lot of foam and gargles, spitting out into a sink and we see a stream of liquid.


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Dr. Bird’s Advice to Sad Poets LANGUAGE 5

 – 3 F-words and 11 bleeped F-words, 13 sexual references, 2 scatological terms, 3 anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, name-calling (useless, joke, weird, cockamamie, dumber, stupid, pole dancer, sap, parasite, sex pirate, vulgar, spunk trumpet, dingus, hipster, brute, fire-crotched impostor, exclamations (shut-up, cripes, ugh, ah shucks, wow, whoo, son of a …), 3 religious profanities (GD), 6 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Jesus). | profanity glossary |


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Dr. Bird’s Advice to Sad Poets SUBSTANCE USE

 – A teen boy asks his parents if his teen sister is a cocaine addict or a drug dealer or a pole dancer and the mother shouts, and a teen boy at a party says another teen boy got roofied and we see the second youth passed out on the floor as a teen girl draws designs on his face. Several underage boys and girls at a party drink from glasses of champagne, beer and beer cans and they dance while holding their drinks, a teen girl drinking shouts a few times and collapses then gets back up, a father shouts at his son that the boy is drunk after sniffing his breath and the boy collapses onto his bed, two possibly-underage girls drink from glasses of beer in a dance club, and a woman sips wine at home. A man holds a burning cigarette in an art museum, and a teen boy and a teen girl inhale from burning cigarettes and blow smoke into the camera.


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Dr. Bird’s Advice to Sad Poets DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Dysfunctional families, mental illness, swallowing emotions, seeking professional help, abusiveness, cults, kidnapping, first love, virginity, teens with social anxiety, promiscuous teen girls, jilted lovers, depressed mothers, abusive fathers, relationships, independence, friendship, jealousy, guilt, conflict, reconciliation.

Dr. Bird’s Advice to Sad Poets MESSAGE

 – Learn to celebrate yourself and others will celebrate you.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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