The Starling

It’s almost an impossible feat to have Melissa McCarthy in a film, and have it come out a snoozefest. And, yet.

Starting with a few promising minutes of sweet, offbeat dialogue, a premise that could have been made into a small, beautifully formed story on a big subject (aftermath of the death of an infant), and a cast chock-full of good actors, this new Netflix drama had seemingly all it takes in terms of creating a strong narrative, except the story itself.

Maybe it was meant to be an entirely different tale, and never should have made it to screen as is.

Written as if it were a collection of random ideas for characters, and directed at pace of a wellness seminar, Theodore Melfi‘s The Starling (2021) has all the makings of a film that imagines its audience unable to discern between life and a mindful soft drink commercial. Scored to absolute saturation, dripping with overwhelming sentimentality, it never lets an emotional moment pass by without punctuating it with some sort of instant catharsis.

Add to this an unreasonably territorial bird relentlessly attacking our protagonist with no good motivation except a convoluted plot, and every sitcom trope west side of the Atlantic used as prop, there is plenty to lament about this endeavour, especially the waste of its immensely talented lead.

McCarthy just standing in frame being the reason I give it a two star, instead of one, which it sadly deserves.

★★✩✩✩

Author: ©Milana Vujkov

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