At the beginning of The Starling, we are introduced to Lily (Melissa McCarthy), and her husband Jack (Chris O’Dowd) who are painting a mural on a wall in what we assume is a nursery. They talk to their baby and then we are off.
Lily, with a glazed-over look in her eyes as she stares at the grocery store shelf. At this point, we have no clue what is she is preoccupied with, but it’s evident that she is struggling. Her boss, played by Timothy Olyphant, is pretty much an ass, a caring ass, but could work on his delivery.
She heads off as she says she does every Tuesday to see Jack, who is in a facility, what kind of facility, we aren’t sure at this point until the flashback….. They lost a child.
This doesn’t quite seem like a movie you would choose to watch since the subject matter is rather dim, but I feel like it’s a movie to watch because of the subject matter…..loss. We have all gone through loss in some way or another whether it be the loss of a person, a pet, or even an item. Loss is a constant in life and getting through the loss is something individual for each person.
The Starling delves into this, the way this couple deals with losing a child. One, Lily, seemingly moves on with life in almost a repetitive haze just to get through each day. The other, Jack, has a tougher time dealing with the loss of his child and ends up in a mental health facility dealing with the guilt, the loss, and his actions.
Lily, who seemingly has never sought any type of help dealing with her loss and is seen supporting her husband’s grief, is referred to a therapist, Larry (Kevin Kline). Unbeknownst to her, Larry no longer practices as a therapist and is now a veterinarian but it doesn’t take long for him to connect with her. He offers to help her with an issue she is having with a territorial starling that is dive-bombing her as she works in her garden. All of these conversations they have surrounding the bird, are ultimately about her and her husband and the devastating loss they have suffered.
I felt like I was spying on the couple as they worked their way through the grief, the pain was visceral in some scenes, and for me sometimes hard to watch. I shed many tears, but I cried with them and not so much for them in many ways. I wanted them to find their way back through the loss. I cheered them on in my heart.
Overall, this is a moving film, but it might not be for everyone. I found it to be a real representation of loss, and the emotional roller coaster it can take us on as we navigate through it. The cast, especially McCarthy and O’Dowd were fantastic in letting us into these characters’ heartbreak and through to the other side. Definitely grab some tissues, you will need them.
Stream The Starling on Netflix September 24th