Starling Girl (2023) movie review

That sugarcoated smile is just a thin cover for the constant humiliation and judgment that suffocates Jem Starling (Eliza Scanlen) as a 17-year-old girl growing up in a fundamentalist Christian community in Kentucky. Laurel ParmetThe brilliant upcoming drama “The Starling Girl” captures the vulnerable teenager as she finds herself, finds love (or is that lust she’s heard so much about?), and finds out -an what he wants in life. It’s complicated in the way that faith, community, and family can be complicated. However, the film feels different in the way it portrays his internal battle between his desires and beliefs, the way he tries to interact with a congregation that demands punishment for the bad ones. thoughts and sins intended and committed.

Written and directed by Parmet, “The Starling Girl” finds Jem at a difficult moment in his life. His father (Jimmy Simpson) struggles with a depressive episode following the death of a former bandmate from his secular days, and his mother (Wrenn Schmidt) wanted her to avoid talking about it and pretend everything was fine in their family. Jem is distressed at the start of her courtship of Ben (Austin Abrams), but he begins to heal his older brother, Owen (Lewis Pullman), who recently returned from missionary work in Puerto Rico with his wife Misty (Jessamine Burgum). As the pastor’s son, Owen is tasked with overseeing the youth programs, and Jem finds many excuses to talk to him. Soon, the attraction will feel to each other, but is it God’s will or something else?

“The Starling Girl” lives and breathes through Scanlen’s incredible performance. He embodies the teenage frustration of being told what to do all the time, the immaturity of acting out in anger, and the naivety of being taken care of by his youth pastor. It is a seduction that at first is not obvious, but soon, he seeks her attention and affection because he makes her feel understood and because he is the only one who talks to her openly and frankly. Scanlen throws himself into his character’s fall from grace, making it easy to see and feel why Jem is so swept away by the powerful first waves of romance, asking himself if it’s possible to fall in love. heal his prayers. She fantasizes about kissing in the shower, ironically, while wearing a purity ring (a symbol of commitment to save your virginity for marriage) on her wedding ring finger. Like a trance, Scanlen’s eyes are filled with love every time he looks at Pullman, and when things go wrong, his character’s pain is written all over his body, from teary cheeks to bowing. in bed with his thumb in his mouth, returned to a childish state. .

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