There’s one hard rule when it comes to period films: if a period piece has an anachronistic soundtrack, you’ll be blown away. Catherine named Birdy graceful falls into this category.
Lena Dunham’s new film is just buzzing with joy, a delightful coming-of-age game accompanied by spunky covers of Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade Into You’ and Supergrass’ ‘Alright’. Follow the likes of Sofia Coppola Marie Antoinette and the underrated gem of the Apple TV+ dickinson, Catherine named Birdy tells of a young girl who lived in England in the 13th century. Birdy (Bella Ramsey) is a girl who becomes a woman despite putting every hurdle in her father’s (Andrew Scott) way before getting married.
We meet little Birdy during a pivotal moment in her life: her first menstrual cycle. At the first sight of blood, she panics and rushes to tell her nurse, Morwenna (Lesley Sharp), that she is dying. Leave the Bible to her brother. Leave the clothes to her best friend Aelis. Birdy howls her will, sad to be leaving the world but still kicking ass from all the fun she’s had. But her true destiny is much worse than death. When Birdy finds out that this means she is a woman and can now be sold into marriage, she is even more desperate.
This subject is always tough — seeing girls sold into marriage and given away by their fathers isn’t always the funniest thing — but Dunham and Ramsey soften it with just enough courage. Birdy spits cruel words and real saliva at her suitors, but she also loves her circle of friends and family enough to understand that her actions will have consequences.
Birdy telling all the stuff is a risky, occasionally overbearing tactic that actually pays off here. In her girly reactions to everything in her life, Ramsey’s performance is reminiscent of Renée Zellweger’s in The Diary of Bridget Jones: delightful, sardonic and insightful at the same time. It’s always fun when Birdy chimes in with a smacking little joke, her scathing take on the matter at hand is very welcome.
As we watch Birdy’s family try (and fail) to find a suitor for her, the film is never clumsy with its feminist message. Many movies and TV shows try to throw The Future is Female-esque quotes into the dialogue, hungry for social media users to screenshot and spread across the internet. but Catherine named Birdy triumphs in prioritizing the wholeness of his own characters before making them bait for political messaging and marketing.
While the film is inherently feminist – Birdy’s need to fight her suitors is still a struggle many young women face – the most revolutionary aspect of all is the respect it shows Birdy. Though she’s just a teenage girl who makes a lot of mistakes and ends up wreaking havoc with mud pies, Catherine named Birdy first of all respect her and her youth. She falters. But in the end, she’s the one teaching her elders. Hopefully young girls can see this and understand that they too can be fallible and wise at the same time.
After all, elders are not omniscient. The bevy of adults in this film – Birdy’s nurse, her father Sir Rollo, her mother Lady Aislinn (Billie Piper) and her uncle George (Joe Alwyn) – only add to the charm of Catherine named Birdy. They also grow up alongside sweet little Birdy, the family’s first daughter and by far the most ruthless of their group. Birdy’s mother, who usually comes through a painful childbirth, is the best member of the family in her corner, offering Birdy a tender portrait of womanhood when she’s at her lowest point.
Andrew Scott and Joe Alwyn also lend themselves perfectly to Birdy’s lively personalities. Scott pleases as a bumbling, arrogant father – who of course is still very caring for his children, with a special fondness for Birdy. And Alwyn finally gets a chance to repeat his adorable work The favourite, as Birdy’s knight in shining armor and the object of her best friend’s affections. passed out!
The only downfall of Catherine named Birdy is its PG-13 rating. While I thoroughly enjoyed the coming-of-age feel-good movie, it’s pretty sad to think that younger girls might not be able to meet Birdy. The original novel, written by Karen Cushman in 1994, was sold as a children’s story and the film has no reason to be marketed to adults. But there’s swearing, some sex talk, and plenty of period panic, hence the PG-13 rating. Still, I would advocate that most young girls watch the film.
Dunham’s latest feature – coming just two months later sharp stick, her first feature film in more than a decade – triumphs as a harmonious ode to growing up, parenting, family and femininity. Hopefully, Catherine named Birdy will be delivered to the audience that needs it most (young women), although it will surely charm the rest of the world into loving Birdy, the cutest little girl (who still manages to look adorable in a dress made of mud) .
https://www.thedailybeast.com/obsessed/catherine-called-birdy-review-lena-dunhams-coming-of-age-romp-will-charm-your-socks-off?source=articles&via=rss Catherine Called Birdy Review – Lena Dunham’s coming-of-age quiff will knock your socks off