Catherine Called Birdy
Lurks under Oscar’s cinematic window just as Coda did this time last year.
This is a film that will resonate with women of all ages. It tells the enchanting story of a 13th Century 14-year-old English girl, full of piss and vinegar, who refuses to marry.
With her father, played with force by Andrew Scott, dancing on the edge of financial ruin, his only solution was to have his daughter marry a wealthy suitor. While men of various ages and temperaments respond, young Catherine gives birth to a medieval version of woman’s liberation.
Bella Ramsey is sensational playing Birdy, Catherine’s nickname. She is unforgettable in her role as a young girl who fights to maintain her freedom with a passion laced with a sense of humor. She doesn’t back down even after her first menstrual period is discovered despite her attempts to hide it.
As she battles with her frequently intoxicated father, she finds comfort from a friendship with a governess (Lesley Sharp) and a best friend (Isis Hainsworth) who is forced to marry a nine-year-old heir to a fortune. Her pregnant mother (Billie Piper) is unable to offer any meaningful comfort.
Director Lena Dunham brings us a provocative film that doesn’t hide the reality that women had as little control over their own bodies in 1290 as they do in our post Roe v. Wade 21st Century. Yet Birdy endures corporal punishment from her father with a menacing look that shows there is no quit in this little girl.
This is a boisterous, meaningful film that you should not miss.