The Starling centres around Lilly Maynard (Melissa McCarthy – Nine Perfect Strangers) and husband, Jack (Chris O’Dowd), who welcome baby Katie into their life. After the opening credits, however, we see Jack is in a care facility, and we know they have suffered a loss. Sadly, it’s the worst possible loss they could’ve experienced.
Before long, while supermarket worker Lilly is doing some work in her back yard, but after starting to attempt to move on in her life, and attend to dealing with their daughter’s room, which was left exactly how it always was, she gets interrupted aplenty by the starling in the title, who thinks nothing of divebombing at her head on a regular basis. As such, Kevin Kline comes into the cast as Dr. Larry Fine, a former psychologist-turned-vet who patches Lilly up after she gets hit on the head by the bird.
One such attempt to disuade the feathered non-friend involves buying a scary owl as a scarecrow-style deterrent, but before my question was answered, I figured that wasn’t going to work whatsoever.
The Starling is amusing in small doses – due to occasional asides – but it does have some dark themes going on.
With Lilly’s life in upheaval – the titular bird clearly being a metaphor for how reality bites for her – I can see what this film is trying to achieve, but it’s not massively satisfying, whilst being massively predictable. Despite the occasional heart-wrenching material, no-one onscreen really seems to be putting in the effort, so this just rather… exists for the majority of its running time.
As such, The Starling is typical Sunday afternoon viewing fare, with some angst-induced mild language, plus the obligatory f-word to get the 12-certificate (or PG13 in the US), since American filmmakers like to steer away from PG certificates unless it’s a kids film.
Thanks to our friends at Netflix for the screener prior to release.
The Starling is on Netflix now, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Check out the trailer below:
Running time: 103 minutes
Release date: September 24th 2021
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Director: Theodore Melfi
Producers: Theodore Melfi, Kimberly Quinn, Dylan Sellers
Screenplay: Matt Harris
Music: Benjamin Wallfisch
Lilly Maynard: Melissa McCarthy
Jack Maynard: Chris O’Dowd
Dr. Larry Fine: Kevin Kline
Travis Delp: Timothy Olyphant
Ben: Daveed Diggs
Sherri: Laura Harrier
Fawn: Rosalind Chao
Regina: Kim Quinn
Velma: Loretta Devine
Hector: Jesse Garcia
Margie: Edi Patterson
Alice: Emily Tremaine
Hank: DA Obahor
Dr. Manmohan: Ravi Kapoor
Howie: Owen Atlas
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.