‘Catherine Called Birdy’ Flails Mid-Flight

Lena Dunham’s penchant for leaning into societal issues hurts her storytelling.


What if you set a John Hughes-inspired comedy in the Middle Ages? According to film critic Chad Byrnes, this is what Lena Dunham has attempted in her irreverent PG-13 romp, Catherine Called Birdy, “which retains the filmmaker’s feminist themes and comic sensibilities while employing some Monty Python-esque satire.”

Despite some stylistic misfires, Dunham smartly conveys that 13th Century England plainly sucked for teenage girls. 14-year-old Catherine (Bella Ramsey), otherwise known as Birdy due to her winged pets (and the obvious metaphor of being caged by feudal conventions that limit women to little else in life but prepping for marriage. 

Byrnes points out that this coming-of-age yarn has some satirical bite and a few LOL moments, such as a scene when Birdy swoons over her Uncle George with an impassioned, “Only if he were my cousin!” Unfortunately, Birdy’s abrasive personality and constant screeching come across less as adolescent angst than as simply mean-spirited.

Click here for Byrnes’s full review and the film’s trailer. —VV editors

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