The Starling was an adequate film, but it didn’t have what I was looking for



The poster for Netflix Original movie, the Starling, starring Melissa McCarthy.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love Melissa McCarthy. She brings comedic relief to movies like nobody else. I look forward to watching any movie that I see her involved in just so I can see her personality through the character that she portrays. Unfortunately, I don’t think The Starling showcased her comedic acting capabilities to the fullest. 

Just over a year before the movie takes place, Lilly Maynard (McCarthy) and her husband Jack (Chris O’Dowd) lost their baby Katie. The specific reason that Katie passed away is never mentioned but Jack feels guilty for it. Jack blames his daughter’s death on himself and has to be put into a mental institution because of the actions he takes. Lilly leaves her job early every Tuesday to visit Jack on family day. 

After the first family day that is shown in the film, Lilly heads home and tries to put some of her life back together. She mows her extremely overgrown lawn and cleans it up to build a garden. When she starts to dig, a small, black-colored bird calls out to her from a tree. The bird grows more agitated with every sinking of the shovel into the ground. When it can take no more, the bird dive-bombs Lilly. The same thing happens every single time that she tries to garden. 

Lilly started gardening because one of Jack’s doctors, Regina (Kimberly Quinn), had become worried about Lilly’s mental health and asked if she had tried to remove emotional triggers from her home or if she had been seeing a therapist. Lilly’s emotional triggers involve anything that reminds her of Katie. Lilly removes most of the furniture from her house per this concern. Unsurprisingly, furniture removal did not ease her grief. 

The only potential hilarity I found was the frequent Starling divebombs.”

Lilly decides to heed the other part of Regina’s request and visited Dr. Larry Fine (Kevin Kline), a former colleague of Regina’s. Lilly heads to her appointment with him only to discover a major issue: Larry is no longer a therapist, he is a veterinarian.

As Lilly is somehow going to therapy with a vet and trying to rid herself of a Starling, she relearns her will to live and sees how capable she is of love. 

I thought this movie sounded heartwarming and endearing at first glance. My assumption was correct—and I did enjoy that aspect—but it lacked what I truly wanted: Melissa McCarthy’s comedic acting. I was deceived by Netflix categorizing this movie as a comedy as well as a drama. While it could be humorous for a kid, I didn’t find much humor within the plot. Rather, I found it to be an upsetting movie. 

Lilly and Jack’s marriage was falling apart from the death of their daughter; I’m not sure what can be derived as funny from that. The only potential hilarity I found was the frequent Starling dive-bombs. To be quite honest, it wasn’t at all comedic. 

The climax of this movie is still not discernable. I’m not sure if the peak of the film was supposed to be involved in the Starling-Lilly aspect or the Lilly-Jack part. Both segments could have separate climaxes, but I feel that it would be better if there was one for the whole movie. 

Overall, I had a good experience watching The Starling. I enjoyed the plot and felt that it was a good movie, but it was not what I was expecting or hoping for.