‘Free Byrd’ is an interesting look at aging and family relationships

Category: Movies


Free Bird is a film about aging, which is what we all do, hopefully. The story revolves around two men, Jay Butler and Harry Byrd, who find their lives unexpectedly intertwined.

Jay Butler (Randy Nazarian) is a kind-hearted middle-aged man. He is divorced with two kids and currently works as a van driver for an assisted living community. He is easy-going and gets along with the residents and staff. Even though he is happy with his job, Jay had previously wanted to be an actor. The film begins with the unexpected death of his father.

Harry Byrd is a resident in the community however he is being kicked out for being a difficult and stodgy man. Harry is being transferred to another community and it is Jay who is assigned to drive him there. The trip is supposed to last just a couple days but it takes a little longer due to some unforeseen circumstances.

While the two men are on the road, Harry’s three kids are meeting with their attorney to get legal control of him.

The gist of the story is the bonding that goes on between the two men on their journey. Harry is nearing the end of his life and wants to enjoy every minute. This involves taking a side trip to a place he had visited with his deceased wife. This also involves the demise of the van, which, as luck would have it, turns out to be a good thing.

The two are rescued by a burlesque group led by RED (Shondrella Avery), who takes a liking to the men. The group takes the two to their next gig, which is in a casino, where Jay hopes to get a rental car so he can complete his assignment and deliver Harry safely to his new residence. But things get a little out of hand when the comedy group that was scheduled to perform with the dancers cancels. It is up to Jay and Harry to take their place, leading to an unplanned comedy routine with the burlesque dancers.

Harry is really a gentle soul, even though he comes off as being very brash and difficult. His words of wisdom and ultimate action have an affect on Jay and his life’s path. The two bond and in the end, well, things do happen for a reason.

Director Tony Vidal said, “I wrote the screenplay for ‘Free Byrd’ the year my father died. I was seeking to portray the challenges and redemption of a father-son relationship. … Over the course of their unexpected, quirky, and even spectacular journey, they bond and heal each other’s father-son wounds.”

Free Byrd is not rated. It is not for kids. While it’s not the best film about aging and family relationships, there are a few humorous and sentimental scenes. It is available April 1, 2021.

About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment industry for over 25 years. She also writes about products and travel. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books, is the entertainment correspondent for Good Day Orange County, and has her own TV show, Beyond the Red Carpet, on Village Television in Orange County. She is a longstanding member of the Los Angeles Press Club and the Television Critics Association and is accredited by the MPAA.