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Songbird Movie Review - A Pandemic Love Story

Can love survive if the virus gets worse?

Reviewed by on Dec 10, 2020
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Kidzworld saw Songbird, set in 2024 when the virus has mutated into a much worse killer and a young couple in love try to escape an infested L.A. Will it depress you or will love and action win out? Read our movie review!



In Songbird, it’s 2024, COVID-19 has mutated, is now airborne and the world is in its fourth quarantine year. In Los Angeles, people infected with the virus are taken from their homes and forced into quarantine camps, also known as "Q-Zones" that are basically death camps. Nico (KJ Apa), is immune and a courier rushing packages around town on his bike. He’s in love with home-quarantined Sara (Sofia Carson), although they’ve never met in person. When she believes she has been infected, armed troops are coming to take her away and Nico races against time around L.A. to get the only thing that can save them both any way he can.

Quarantine camps house the sickQuarantine camps house the sickCourtesy of STXfilms

Los Angeles 2024

In 2024 humans are in the fourth year of quarantine from a virus that has mutated, is now airborne and 56% of those infected die within 48 hours. Only those who are immune can leave their homes and must wear yellow bracelets that mark them. Young Nico, once a paralegal in law school, is now a bike courier rushing around almost empty L.A. streets delivering and picking up packages. All couriers are immune. Their boss Lester (Craig Robinson) dispatches them and watches via drones. Nico delivers and picks up regularly from the rich Griffins, Piper (Demi Moore) and William (Bradley Whitford) who used to be a record producer. Their tween daughter Emma (Lia McHugh) thinks Nico is cute.

Lester (Craig Robinson ) runs a courier businessLester runs a courier businessCourtesy of STXfilms

On a Date

While Piper takes a call from a “client” who wants fake passes to get him and wife out of the city, Nico, on his way home to clean up for a date with Sara, is almost shot until soldiers see he has an immune bracelet.

Nico (KJ Apa) shows his immune bracelet to avoid being shotNico shows his immune bracelet to avoid being shotCourtesy of STXfilms

He is watched from above by a drone controlled by Lester’s pal Dozer (Paul Walter Hauser), a disabled vet. At home, Nico washes any trace of virus off and adds more money to the stash he is saving for a get-away from L.A. with Sara….someday. He goes to the abandoned building where he used to work to steal some pencils for Sara’s artwork and gives them to her through a U.V. light sanitizer at her door. She’s thrilled. Her grandma Lita is happy Sara has a boyfriend, even one she can’t touch. He stays outside her apartment door.

Nico (KJ Apa) camps in the hall to protect SaraNico camps in the hall to protect SaraCourtesy of STXfilms

The Hot D.J.

Living in a motel, singer/songwriter/D.J. May (Alexandra Daddario) has a podcast program, singing and playing tunes. A listener is Dozer and they share their lonely lives via video chats.

May (Alexandra Daddario) video phone chats with DozerMay video phone chats with DozerCourtesy of STXfilms

His drone can see outside and he tells her it’s much worse out there than she thinks. Meanwhile, on their “date” Nico is back home showing a movie on his wall which Sara shares on her phone. Suddenly Lita starts coughing and the armed “sanitation” men come in hazmat suits. Sara is terrified but they are after the next-door neighbor who has the virus.

Sara (Sofia Carson) is afraid to open the door to an infected neighborSara is afraid to open the door to an infected neighborCourtesy of STXfilms

She pounds on Sara’s door begging for help but Sara simply can’t let her in. Weird Sanitation worker boss Emmett (Peter Stormare) knocks on the door and tells Sara there has been an outbreak in her building. She’d better be careful.

Emmett (Peter Stormare) and the sanitation squad are frighteningEmmett and the sanitation squad are frighteningCourtesy of STXfilms

A Fever and a Risk

Lita gets worse and, masked and gloved, Sara takes care of her. There is a mandatory temperature check via phone at 9 in the morning. If Lita fails, the squad will come and take both her and Sara away to a quarantine zone! She tells Nico who sits in the hall to prevent anyone from taking Sara away. Meanwhile, William Griffin is on his way out with a sophisticated mask on to pick up a delivery for their counterfeit pass business. Piper knows that he goes to see another woman. There is no love left between the couple. Daughter Emma thinks it’s her fault. William takes a horrible risk by seeing his “lady” May, who moonlights as a hooker to make ends meet.

William goes out to see MayWilliam goes out to see MayCourtesy of STXfilms

The Test

It’s the morning. Nico is still camped in the hall when Sara and Lita both take the temperature test. Sara is virus/fever negative but Lita is not. The guards will come soon to take them both away. Nico wants Sara to run away with him but she can’t leave grandma. He won’t give up. He vows to come back to her quickly with fake immunity passes for her and grandma. He asks his boss Lester for the passes. Lester doesn’t have any but tells him that he has been delivering them without knowing for the Griffins. Maybe they will help him but they are terribly expensive. He rushes home on his motorcycle, grabs his money and calls the Griffins who pretend they know nothing about passes. Piper later sends Nico to someone supposed to have them. 

Piper (Demi Moore) takes Nico's call asking for fake passesPiper takes Nico's call asking for fake passesCourtesy of STXfilms

Race Against Time

While Nico rushes to get the passes, Lita dies and the guards are outside. Sara will have to be clever to escape them. Can Nico get the pass for her in time or will she end up in a Q Zone? Will the Griffiths get caught? Will May and Dozer be safe?

Dozer flies drones for hireDozer flies drones for hireCourtesy of STXfilms

Wrapping Up

I don’t really see how the title fits the film. The only “songbird” is the supporting character singer/songwriter/D.J. May played by Alexandra Daddario. The movie, totally shot in L.A. during the pandemic, has been criticized for exploiting our horrible virus situation and turning it into entertainment but, teens at least will enjoy the love story and action and be a bit relieved that our real situation, although awful, is not nearly as intense or serious as what the characters experience in the film, although it’s relatable. There were bound to be films set in the “virus era”. This cautionary tale might tell us “If you think you have it bad now. What if this happened?”

Nico (KJ Apa) gets as close as he can to SaraNico gets as close as he can to SaraCourtesy of STXfilms

The parts of Nico and Sara are a departure for actors KJ (“Riverdale”) and Sofia (the “Descendants” films on Disney Channel). The two have chemistry, even though a door, and both are convincing as the young couple.  Peter Stormare who often plays villains, is a creepy, quirky one in this film and that works nicely. Demi Moore does a decent job as the mom of a physically weak tween doing something illegal to keep her child safe.

Piper (Demi Moore) runs a counterfeit pass businessPiper runs a counterfeit pass businessCourtesy of STXfilms

Storywise, we wonder why, if the virus is now airborne, can anywhere, even outside of L.A., be safe? I wish there had been at least a scene inside a quarantine zone so we could see just what horrors Sara might face. It would also have been nice to see Sara and Nico on the run a bit since they’ve never even met face-to-face.

Sara (Sofia Carson) keeps in touch with Nico by phoneSara keeps in touch with Nico by phoneCourtesy of STXfilms

The movie is produced by Michael Bay who directed and/or produced many of the Transformers films so the action and race-against-time is tense and pretty sharp. This is the first film I’ve seen with the pandemic as a backdrop so the love story is a bit different. If the setting disturbs you at least the message, the last words in the film, “Don’t ever give up” are uplifting.

Despite script flaws, we were entertained by the love story and action and, yes, a sadly familiar but more intense virus setting, so we can award four stars.

Songbird Movie Rating: 4

Songbird Movie Review - A Pandemic Love Story | COVID-19 | VirusCourtesy of STXfilms

See Songbird streaming on demand everywhere December 11th.