Catherine, Called Birdy (2022) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)

While “Game of Thrones” is considered Bella Ramsay’s breakout role, Birdy has given proof that Ramsay can and will have diverse stardom.


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BELLA RAMSEY stars in CATHERINE CALLED BIRDY

While “Game of Thrones” is considered Bella Ramsay’s breakout role, Birdy has given proof that Ramsay can and will have diverse stardom.

Director(s) Lena Dunham
Screenplay By Lena Dunham
Based On Catherine, Called Birdy Novel by Karen Cushman
Date Released (In Theaters) September 23. 2022
Date Released (Amazon Prime) October 7, 2022
Genre(s) Comedy, Drama, Romance, Young Adult, Family, Historical
Duration 1 Hour 48 Minutes
Content Rating PG-13
Noted Cast
Birdy Bella Ramsey
Aelis Isis Hainsworth
Uncle George Joe Alwyn
Lord Rollo Andrew Scott
Perkin Michael Woolfitt
Lady Aislinn Billie Piper
Robert Dean-Charles Chapman
Sir John Paul Kaye
Ethelfritha Sophie Okonedo
Lord Gideon Sidebottom David Bradley

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Film Summary

Like many teenage girls, Lady Catherine, preferably called Birdy, isn’t fond of the limitation placed upon her simply for being born a girl. She cannot be a great knight in the crusades, has to deal with having a period, and with her father, Lord Rollo, desperate for money to maintain appearances, she finds herself under constant threat of being sold to the highest bidder. But those are just some of Birdy’s problems. Add in her best friend Aelis starting to fall in love with people, her Uncle George getting married, and her up and down friendship with Perkin, and, needless to say, Birdy’s 14th year is quite chaotic.

Things To Note

Why Is “Catherine, Called Birdy” Rated PG-13

  • Dialog: Some Cursing
  • Violence: There is a dual which leads to bloodshed, but no one dies
  • Sexual Content: Implied but not seen
  • Miscellaneous: Drinking, noted death of children by disease or miscarriage

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Birdy

14-year-old Birdy is the definition of a tomboy. She loves playing in the mud and getting dirty with boys like Perkin. Menacing her father or the village people? That is more fun than any chore or project expected of a lady. But, with getting her monthly flow, so comes the expectation of growing up, which Birdy plans to fight fiercely.

Aelis

Aelis is everything Birdy is not, and that might be why Birdy loves her. They are like yin and yang; in another life, if Birdy was born a boy, she may have asked to marry Aelis.

Uncle George

Uncle George, a soldier fresh from the Crusades, is Birdy’s first, and currently only, crush.

Lord Rollo

The man of the house, who married into money, Lord Rollo has spent a fortune keeping up appearances and trying to live up to the perception of a lord has nearly bankrupted his house.

Perkin

Perkins is Birdy’s male best friend and a goat herder.

Lady Aislinn

Lady Aislinn is Birdy’s mother and the person who had the money and title, not her husband Lord Rollo.

Robert

Robert is Birdy’s older brother who teases her on sight but is deeply in love with her best friend.

Sir John

The 7th richest man in Yorkshire, Sir John, is old, vulgar, and more so tolerated than beloved. Yet, money talks, and Lord Rollo listens when it does.

Ethelfritha

Widowed and rich, Ethelfritha is an eccentric woman who marries into Birdy’s family and, while originally hated, quickly becomes beloved since she isn’t like other adults.

Lord Gideon Sidebottom

Aelis’ father, probably as old as Sir John, if not older, who is always in a suit of armor, even when he sleeps.

Review


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Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Highlights

No One Dimensional Characters

It could be easy to imagine everything revolving around Birdy, as her name is in the film’s title, and everyone else are just notable fixtures in her life. However, that isn’t the case. As much as Lady Aislinn, Birdy’s mother, is often shown to be Lord Rollo’s wife and pregnant, there is more to her than her maternal or wifely duties. She wants to be an equal, to fulfill her role as lady of the house, have her children like and even love each other, and has goals just like all others who roam Stonebridge. Heck, she even shares a rebellious side with Birdy.

And as we get to know each and every character, it becomes more and more clear that Dunham, despite deserved criticism over the years, has found a niche that works for her since every character is so richly written, even without going over the two-hour mark. I mean, even characters like Robert, one of the least seen, despite being Birdy’s brother, is given both the development and performance to show there is more to him than meets the eye. Especially when you consider him mirroring his father to learn from him since he is to inherit the lordship title – due to his older brother becoming a monk.

Wishing This Was A Mini-Series

What is a good problem for “Catherine, Called Birdy” is that you’ll be left wanting more and wishing you get to see more of Birdy’s world and the people in it. As noted, everyone is so wonderfully written that it makes your short time with someone like Ethelfritha feel almost criminal. She is a woman of inherited wealth, is eccentric in ways you rarely get to see Black women be in medieval times without being considered crazy, and even befriends Birdy.

Heck, one of Birdy’s suitors, Sir John, who is a piece of work, just imagining how much more we could have gotten out of him if only there was time is something difficult to not dwell on. For as much as Ramsay is the star and the knot that binds everything, it is watching people play off her that allows a mutually beneficial scene that makes time just fly by in the movie.

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BELLA RAMSEY stars in CATHERINE CALLED BIRDY
Catherine, Called Birdy (2022) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)
Overall
“Catherine, Called Birdy” is a wonderful surprise that gives a glaringly different take on the middle ages than what has long dominated the genre. In terms of a coming-of-age tale for girls, we'd even submit that it is one of the few that doesn’t present girlhood as a complete curse, especially with womanhood around the corner. Rather, it cherishes and uplifts it and reminds you to honor the time of your life when you lack certain responsibilities.
Highlights
No One Dimensional Characters
Wishing This Was A Mini-Series
Disputable
81

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