Amazon Prime Summary:
Lady Catherine (known as Birdy), like all the great teen heroines, is spirited, clever and adventurous – and ready to put off any suitor that comes her way. With her family desperate to marry her off, Birdy’s imagination, defiance, and modern independence put her on a collision course with her parents. Relationships are put to the test when the most vile suitor of all arrives to claim her hand.
I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of Karen Cushman’s Catherine, Called Birdy before I saw this film adaptation, but for some people (Rosemary and Lena Dunham included), this book had a major impact on their adolescence. It’s basically Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret set in medieval times.
So I can’t speak to this as an adaptation of the book, but I can speak to it as a freaking authentic and hilariously charming coming-of-age story. Catherine (known as Birdy, duh did you not see the title?) is a curious, passionate, and strong-willed girl who wants to live her own life, which is in opposition to the plans of her father, Lord Rollo, who needs to marry his daughter off in order to avoid financial ruin. The movie follows Birdy’s fight to maintain her independence while also experiencing all of those classic young adult firsts: first period, first crush, first kiss, first friendship break-up, and first realization that parents are, actually, just human.
Andrew Scott as Lord Rollo, Bella Ramsey as Birdy
Bella Ramsey, whom you may recognize as the fierce Lyanna Mormont on Game of Thrones, is absolute perfection in this movie. Her Birdy is impulsive without being annoying; bold without being unrealistic; moody without being eye-roll-y; earnest without being cring-y. She’s the epitome of a fourteen-year-old girl, in all of the best and raw ways, and you’ll want to giggle with her then pull her into a squeezy hug.
Hot Priest Andrew Scott absolutely SLAYS in this movie as Birdy’s dad. He’s an alcoholic with absolutely no business savvy, and though initially he has zero appreciation for his daughter, he slowly comes to realize how marvelous she really is. He also has the best lines and (no surprise) nails every single one.
Joe Alwyn as Uncle George
Taylor’s man plays Birdy’s uncle, and he’s perfectly cast as a supportive dreamboat whom Birdy idolizes.
We’ve also got Isis Hainsworth as Birdy’s genuine and lovely bestie; Archie Renaux (Maylen Oretsev in Shadow and Bone!!!) as Birdy’s monk brother; and Billie Piper as Birdy’s beautifully layered mother.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Sofa, Called Full
While you could definitely enjoy this film on your own, it feels meant to be shared with your closest friends. There will be so many times when you’ll want to turn to a bestie and say, “Right?!!” or crack up at Birdy’s irreverence or Lord Rollo’s… like, whole vibe. Plus, this movie is all about Dolly Parton’s favorite emotion: laughter through tears!
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Mug of Mead, Called Full
This isn’t, like, a party movie, but there’s plenty of wine/mead on screen because medieval times, so you’ll want a drink in hand. And there will be several times you’ll want to raise your glass to Birdy for being so dang awesome.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Money, Called Well Spent
Y’all, this is one of my top ten movies of the year. It’s a deeply thoughtful yet delightfully funny portrait of adolescence, and since they don’t make films like this much anymore, Catherine Called Birdy is all the more valuable. Like, even more than a tiger.*
*You’ll get this joke if you see the movie. So watch it already!