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My girlfriend and I were just watching "Birdman" and had to leave early because she had a seizure. I don't often go to films and it's not out on DVD, so I'm wondering if someone would mind telling me what the telekinesis was about?

I assume it was in his mind like the voice of his former character?

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It's difficult to say.

To really understand, you have to look at the whole movie including the ending (which I will spoil in this answer).

A full (also spoilerific) breakdown of the movie's plot can be found here, but ultimately we see throughout the film that he has these telekinetic, supernatural moments - but all are revealed to be hallucinations, time and time again.

For example, we see Riggan using telekinesis to throw objects around his dressing room - until his lawyer enters and we see Riggan was using his hands, not his mind.

The film then ends with Riggan starring in the play, getting rave reviews from critics and ending up in hospital after using a real gun in the final part of the film. His injuries leave him needing bandages which cover his face in the same way the Birdman's mask covered his. When he is alone in his room, he spots some birds outside his window. He climbs onto his window ledge and jumps - Sam then rushes in and looks to the ground expecting to see a body, but there isn't one - she looks to the sky and smiles - and that's the end!

So ultimately, this leaves a plethora of possible interpretations of the telekinesis.

  1. It's possible he really is telekinetic and that the film finishes with his flying away in a blaze of glory. However, this is the least likely option as the film continually rebukes this notion, showing these supernatural acts to be false.

  2. In the last stage of the play he actually kills himself with the gun (instead of merely wounding himself). This makes sense, as everything after that is perfect - he gets a rave review for his performance, a standing ovation and a heart-warming moment with Sam. In other words, those are all hallucinations, including the end of the film - he's really dead (or at least on his deathbed).

  3. Everything is real up until the moment he jumps out the window, which is symbolic of him soaring once again and moving on with his life.

Ultimately, we just don't know. I would say the second option is most likely (and is certainly my preferred interpretation of the film). However, as one of the film's writers said:

"We're not going to sit around and explain the ending. I guess my thing is, if you can silence the voice of mediocrity, then what is possible? [That] is good enough for me," Dinelaris said. "But we thought if we answered that question at the end, it would seem very, very small. Is he famous because he shot himself? That's small. Is he still miserable? That's small. Everything seemed small."

So, I know you wanted an answer explicitly on the telekinesis, but it's impossible to really talk about it without understanding the ending - which, alas, is open to a lot of interpretation.

  • I think the complete name of this movie explains it all. :) – Faizan Rabbani Jan 19 '15 at 5:13
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    This is a fine answer, but in response to your suggestion that #2 is most likely, I will point out that the idea of failed suicide had been foreshadowed in the play-within-a-play. – Michael Stern Feb 21 '15 at 13:18
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or maybe... Riggan is struggling with who he really is throughout the entire movie. A celebrity, not an actor. Mike keeps telling him to be more real, the props are not real, this gun is not scaring me, get a more real gun. Birdman keeps telling him to come back to him, continue to make Birdman movies...be true to yourself, what you really want, not what the people want. Riggan held on to that napkin as a reminder of who he was. As soon as he got rid of it he let go of the past and began the process of accepting who and where he was in life. On opening night he told his ex a secret he had kept from her. He exposed Truth! He swapped out the fake gun for a real gun making his performance REAL! He didn't matter how it turned out (if he lived or died) he was doing what was right, doing something REAL! His alter ego Birdman had taken over, the voice inside his head that revealed truth. With doing so, he got everything he ever wanted.. his fame back, a relationship with his daughter and a second chance with his ex. He was above everyone else, elated with joy. So much that he flew out the window. his daughter saw this and could tell he was different.

  • While interesting, I'm not sure that adresses the actual question so much. – Napoleon Wilson Apr 8 '15 at 8:14
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Director really wanted to keep the movie ambiguous and open for various interpretations as much as possible,which is awesome and the reason it deserve all the awards it got.

Answers to your question,

His powers are all about his alter ego "Birdman" .Because of the "Birdman" movies he has earned a solid recognition.People see him as "Birdman",speak to him as the "Birdman".After some time dealing and feeling like "Birdman" it becomes a part of his mind and his reality.But at the time period of his life shown in the movie he has fed up with it , beacuse it suppress the talented actor he is.He wants people to recognize him for the great actor he is not as "Birdman".He wants to prove it to him self (to become the actor not the celebrity "The Birdman").But his alter ego gradually taking over his personality.At the beginning it was just whispering to him and he only do moving objects.Later when his alter ego completely take over his mind he fly.So the these power are the way movie is explaining this process or the stages of being taken over by the "Birdman" ego.


Some other possible questions and explanations

Can he actually fly?Does he have telekinesis powers? No

  • Soon after he lands at the theater a cabby chases him for money,so he actually took the cab.
  • And when he lands no body in the street notices a "Flying Man" and reacts.

So its clear that him flying actually happened only in his mind.This scene is not shown as perspective of some character (Like the lawyer seen him crashing stuff in his room with bear hands,which could lead to explanation that he actually has powers but not in lawyer characters perspective) so it is the movie's reality.

What happens in the ending

Its clear that he actually cannot fly.So when he jumped out of the window he must have had hit the floor.But why didn't her daughter see that? By that time she had started to love and respect him.So rather than accepting he is dead she imagine he actually flew out of the windows.

  • After he jumped out of the window we can hear some sirens sound in the background

  • Notice a little hysterical laugh suggests that she may lost her sanity.

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