Movie Review: Catherine Called Birdy (2022)

Title: Catherine Called Birdy
Release Date: September 23, 2022
Director: Lena Dunham
Production Company:Working Title Films | Good Thing Going

I know we’re supposed to hate Lena Dunham.  I actually have never seen any of her other work so I really can’t judge her work on its merits.  But I was inextricably drawn to the cast of this medieval coming-of-age comedy because of the cast that includes Bella Ramsey (who stole scenes in A Game of Thrones), Andrew Scott (Moriarty in Sherlock, Hot Priest in Fleabag) and Billie Piper (Rose in Doctor Who).

Based on a 1994 young adult novel by Karen Cushman, the movie tells the story of Lady Catherine, a.k.a. Little Bird, a.k.a. Birdy (Ramsey) who starts keeping a diary on her 14th birthday.  Her father Lord Rollo (Scott) has fallen into debt and is determined to marry off Birdy for the dowry.  The better part of the film consists of the hijinks of Birdy frightening off her suitors as well as passing of the seasons. Piper plays Birdy’s oft-pregnant mother Lady Aislinn, with other significant roles going to Lesley Sharp as Birdy’s nursemaid Morwenna and Joe Alwyn as Birdy’s handsome Uncle George, a crusading knight.

Your enjoyment of this film will likely be in proportion to your tolerance of anachronism.  This is not a historically-accurate film, and I’m fine with that.  Some life experiences are universal and this story tells them within an ongoing series of gags about medieval times.  The one thing that didn’t work for me is the music which was a lot of pop song covers done in kind of a soft rock/indie folk style that doesn’t fit the mood of this movie.  But Ramsey is wonderful and I look forward to seeing what’s next in her career.

Rating: ***