Starling Girl Review


Starling Girl follows the story of Jem and her struggles to adapt to the norms and responsibility of her Christian fundamentals community. It is an interesting look into a modern young adult's beliefs clashing with those of the community around her. 

Eliza Scanlan ( Jem Starling) is an independent woman who wants to make decisions for herself but is constantly finding herself at odds with; her church, her parents and her community when it comes to even the smallest of decisions in her life. She becomes in charge of her church dance troupe but soon realizes that she truly does not have any control over the style of dancing she and the team are allowed to do. Her parents are also trying to court her into a relationship with their friend's son who is similar in age. All of these moments that show her that she truly has no control over her life, lead her to begin a rebellious relationship with her youth pastor, Owen. Owen has recently returned from mission work in Porto Rico and is quite the straight arrow in the church but he and Jem begin an adulterous relationship against his beliefs and the communities. 

The film puts us, the viewer, in an interesting position because, I side with Jem for most of the movie in wanting to make her own decisions and being held back in many ways by the beliefs of those around her but I don't agree with the relationship when that begins. I understand her now rebellious nature but Owen is a married man and she is underage by all social standards and communities. 

I am most disappointed in Owen but he represents the fact that all humans are corruptible and capable of terrible things regardless of how they are viewed by themselves or the people around them. He was hailed as this devoted man who cared about the people around him but he he showed that even he was capable of hurting those around him.  

The movie points out major flaws in all religions but also in the human condition and the characters use that flaw to their advantage. It's using God as a scapegoat for your own wants and desires. Jem disagrees with the fundamentals of her church and many of the rules because they are "what God wants" but she  is perfectly fine with committing adultery because she convinces herself that God is ok with it. At the end of the day, we all make decisions in life and not everyone is going to agree with them but it is up to you to make the best decision for yourself that is going to make you happy. The difficulty, however, is not making a big decision that ruins someone else's life in the process.  Like anyone, Jem just wanted to know that the decision she made was her own and once she was able too, she didn't know right from wrong because she was not used to making ant decision that was not forced upon her. 

Starling Girl is now playing in theatres. 


Review by: Stefano Bove

#review #movie #film #starlinggirl #toronto #drama #religion #usa 

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