HomeEntertainment‘Catherine Called Birdy’ Review: Ye Olde Lady Bird

‘Catherine Called Birdy’ Review: Ye Olde Lady Bird

To flip via the pages of a thirteenth century manuscript, one may imagine the medieval period was beleaguered by extra snaky dragons and man-murdering bunnies than temperamental tween women. Younger girls’s tales weren’t recorded — definitely not in their very own hand, as literacy was low and paper prices had been excessive — an absence that has prodded later generations to think about the adolescent of the Center Ages as demure and obedient, neither seen nor heard. Right here comes “Catherine Referred to as Birdy,” a headstrong comedy written for the display screen and directed by Lena Dunham, to fill in that silence with a shriek.

Birdy, performed with zest by Bella Ramsey, storms into the body baring her tooth and flinging mud pies. The 14-year-old daughter of a broke lord (Andrew Scott) and his oft-bedridden spouse (Billie Piper), Birdy is mercurial, mulish and emphatically irritated by almost everybody and every thing in her shire. She logs her grievances in her diary, which riffs from Karen Kushman’s 1994 Newbery Medal-winning kids’s novel. The movie drops Kushman’s unromantic runner about pestilence (“Picked off 29 fleas at present,” her Birdy writes) to give attention to the lady’s ardour for inventing curses (“Corpus bones!”) and her marketing campaign to scuttle her father’s intention to save lots of his property by marrying his solely surviving daughter to a flatulent creep she dubs Shaggy Beard (Paul Kaye).

Husbands, as seen right here, are both too outdated (81!), too younger (9!) or too egocentric, within the case of Scott’s repugnantly weak Lord Rollo, who wasted the household cash importing tigers and silken robes he wears open-chested with beads, as if presaging Lord Byron’s style sense six centuries sooner. No marvel the lady would like to undergo a saint’s ugly tortures than dwell on as yet one more forsaken spouse.

Dunham units out to make life in 1290 really feel as vibrant as if Birdy was rocking the glitter eye shadow of “Euphoria” as a substitute of drawstring underpants. Often, the film overplays its bid for contemporary relevance — it’s doubtful {that a} medieval teen would have the ability to come out as homosexual with only a understanding look — and the soundtrack’s twee covers of lady energy anthems are a warble too far. (No must carry out Elastica’s “Connection” on what appears like a lute.) However Dunham prevails in convincing audiences that coming-of-age in a so-called less complicated time was equally tumultuous, and crams the corners of her film with pictures of different feminine characters discreetly seizing their very own moments of satisfaction — glimpses of joys which understand that it’s within the margins of a medieval story the place the perfect stuff occurs.

Catherine Referred to as Birdy
Rated PG-13 for grownup innuendo. Operating time: 1 hour 48 minutes. In theaters.

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