Directed and Written by: Lena Dunham
Based on the book by: Karen Cushman
Starring: Bella Ramsey, Billie Piper, Andrew Scott, Lesley Sharp, Joe Alwyn, Dean-Charles Chapman, and more…
Set in a time when women had few rights regarding land, their bodies, and their future, Birdy (Bella Ramsey) tries to hold onto the little power she does have. This involves hiding her monthly cycles from her father so he does not marry her off. While the time period (sorry for the pun) seems like such long time ago, there are sadly still eerie similarities with modern day.
With shows such as The Great and Dickinson showcasing how you can brilliantly combine the dialogue of today’s age with clothing, settings, and mindsets of the past, while also captivating audiences and making moral statements, this movie peaked my interest. During the exposition section of the film, I was gripped. I wanted to learn more and see where it was heading. It is revealed that Birdy is far from perfect, yet her reactions seem pretty logical and realistic considering the circumstances she is dealt.
However, as the story proceeded the pace did not pick up. There was no sense of urgency in the script. The timeline could have been more concise without so much space in between plot points. It was lagging and I had to make myself keep watching, hoping it would eventually pick up again. Surprise: it did not.
Many of the characters feel flat. I did not feel particularly attached to most of them. Even though the friendships and relationships between the characters feel relatively real, that’s not enough to give the characters the life they need. While I wanted to root for Birdy, and did through much of the film, I didn’t feel like it paid off in the end.
The final sequence of the movie was fine and dandy, but the characters did not develop gradually and just changed at the drop of a dime. It would have been nice to see the characters grow naturally, rather than change in an instant. It was not as rewarding this way.
I was excited to watch this film because I am a fan of most of Lena’s work, from Girls (2012-2017) to Nobody Walks (2012). But honestly, this film could have been much better. The middle is where it needs the most work. That is where the meat and bones should have been, but it lacked the depth I was searching for.
I wanted to enjoy this movie. But I cannot honestly say I did.
My Rating: 6/10
While I like Birdy’s attitude, facial expressions, and overall weird nature, the structure of the film is lacking and keeps the story from hitting it out of the park. While the writers of Dickinson and The Great seem to have perfected the ‘present in the past’ morale dilemma story, Catherine Called Birdy could have used some revising.
When Birdy biologically becomes a woman, she decides to hide it as long as possible in order to hold off getting married to an old, money-rich, but personality-poor man.
You can watch this film on Amazon Prime Video.
Thanks for reading,
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