THE STARLING (TIFF2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Eventually everyone gains expert status on loss. If you think you’re immune, you aren’t. This is something director Theodore Melfi banks on with his new film The Starling a dramedy in which parents Lilly and Jack Maynard are grappling with grief from losing their baby daughter Katie to SIDS. The Starling works the extended metaphor of Lilly’s inability to control a bird in her garden that repeatedly attacks her while protecting its nest as a reference reference the grieving parents’ inability to deal with their sadness. The film works and reworks that metaphor and others to such an exhaustive degree that it might as well be the audience members getting dive-bombed à la Tippy Hedren in The Birds.

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THE STARLING – Review by Martha K Baker

Oooh, you think, this is going to be a great movie. Just look at that cast! Melissa McCarthy! Chris O’Dowd! Daveed Diggs! Kevin Kline! Then you look at the movie, and you think, “Meh!” The Starling is a film with more promise than delivery but worth analyzing for what went wrong.

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THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD – Review by Diane Carson

Originally released in 1991 and recently restored, Thousand Pieces of Gold presents a refreshing perspective on the story of a Mongolian girl sold as a bride in 1880s Oregon and is admirable in its assertion of female agency, but the story feels sentimental, safe and predictable, especially post HBO’s Deadwood and other revisionist westerns.

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