The Starling

The Starling

Film Netflix
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Lilly and Jack Maynard have suffered a huge loss and a year later their lives are in very different places in The Starling, a little bird that has taken over Lilly's garden. A beautiful poignant drama starring Melissa McCarthy.

Before I begin this review of The Starling I should say that I absolutely love Melissa McCarthy. Ever had one of those evenings when you just don't know what to watch? I've actually searched for Melissa McCarthy movies because I know that one way or the other I will be entertained. And she's hit it out of the park again with The Starling.

It's a bit of a departure from the usual over the top comedy characters that she normally plays but with How Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Nine Perfect Strangers, McCarthy has more than proved she has plenty of dramatic chops.

Directed by Theodore Melfi, The Starling starts with a married couple preparing for the birth of their daughter. It then fast forwards a year and the couple, Lilly and Jack Maynard (Chris O'Dowd) have very different lives. It becomes apparent that their baby daughter Katie has died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Unable to cope with the loss, Jack has been hospitalised with mental health issues and Lilly is left at home dealing with everything. But a grief stricken Lilly is still putting one foot in front of the other.

She is holding down a job in a grocery store, even with her annoying boss Travis (Timothy Olyphant) unable to understand her situation. She makes the weekly visits to Jack and despite her best attempts, he is stuck and doesn't appear to be improving.

With little else to do, Lilly Maynard decides to try and move on with her life, starting with her yard. And it's then that she encounters The Starling.

The tiny bird in her garden has decided that he doesn't like Lilly. In fact, every time she steps into the garden he attacks her. With few people to turn to, she takes up a recommendation and decides to see Dr Larry Fine (Kevin Kline), a retired psychiatrist who is now a vet.

Through Larry Fine, Lilly is finally able to come to terms with both the feisty bird in her garden as well as the loss she contends with on a daily basis.

The Starling has been billed as both a comedy and a drama. While it does have some funny moments, it is definitely a drama and quite a poignant one at that. It is one woman adjusting to the grieving process and the life that now exists after the death of a child.

Personally, I really liked it. It was beautifully shot, tackled the different ways that people deal with unbearable loss, and ultimately how they move on after such a devastating event. Some have criticised it for being a tonal misfire. But I don't agree.

It's very difficult to tackle such a difficult story. Add a husband who is mentally ill into the mix and it would have been easy to create something over the top and unrealistic. What The Starling accomplishes is far more subtle and quiet. It's the mundane of the every day when your world has been turned upside down and you're just simply trying to survive.

Is The Starling A True Story?

No, it is not a true story. It is based on Matt Harris's script and was brought to life by director Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures) and the cast were all announced for it in 2019.

Where Can You Watch The Starling?

It is a Netflix movie so you can watch The Starling on the streaming giant that is Netflix.

Who Is The Cast In The Starling?

The Starling boasts quite a great cast headed up by Melissa McCarthy who plays Lilly Maynard. This isn't the first Melissa McCarthy Netflix movie, she has also starred in the original film Thunderforce with Octavia Spencer.

Irish actor Chris O'Dowd plays her husband Jack – they also starred in Bridesmaids together. And Kevin Kline in the role of Dr Larry Fine.

The supporting cast is made up of Timothy Olyphant (Lilly's boss at work), Daveed Diggs who plays Ben who works at the hospital and Skyler Gisondo as Dickie.


  • Beautifully Shot
  • Melissa McCarthy Was Stunning
  • Tackles A Very Difficult Subject With Great Care


  • Chris O'Dowd's Character Was More Difficult To Understand
  • Kevin Kline Was Underused


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