Review: The Starling Girl (SXSW 2023)

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Title: The Starling Girl
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Laurel Parmet
Starring: Eliza Scanlen, Lewis Pullman, Jimmi Simpson
Runtime: 1 hr 56 mins

What It Is: Jem Starling (Scanlen) is a 17-year-old young lady looking for herself within the confines of her Christian fundamentalist community. A charismatic, young preacher returns to town from mission and sets off a series of events that’ll allow her to find herself and it may not be in the ways she thinks. Nor in a way that works for her or her families beliefs. Consequences are abound for this scrappy young woman for the actions she’s about to take.

What We Think: Emma Scanlen continues to show she is a MARVELOUS actress. With a little help from director Laurel Parmet (who’s interview with you can view HERE) she turns in a stunner of a performance. Throughout the film you’re constantly wanting Jem to do the right thing and at every turn she sorta doesn’t. Her consequences are her own and for her part Jem accepts them. The film looks incredible and the cinematography and shot selection are top notch. There’s only slight questions on the script itself that need asking. Those answer come in some form and they aren’t as good as I think they need be. Nonetheless Parmet’s direction is helping this thing throughout.

Our Grade: B+, Seek it out. This film is unbelievably good. Not only is it honest and straightforward in its storytelling the story it tells, even when it fumbles is riveting and well done. Laurel Parmet is a star behind the lens and the cast is so fantastic in their roles that Austin Abrams completely disappears into his role to the point of not being recognizable. Lewis Pullman is so charismatic and does the role of preacher justice. Kudos on display to Jimmi Simpson for his role here. He’s always a treat.

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