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The Starling !!BETTER!!

Lilly is trying to hold it together for Jack's return from the facility. Employed at a grocery store, she works to maintain her family's property. As if Lilly's troubles weren't bad enough, a starling nesting in a tree in her backyard begins to harass and attack her, and she becomes obsessed with stopping it. She's also driving two hours every week to see Jack, wondering if he really wants to come home, and what life would be like if he did.

The Starling

Prioritizing Jack's grief without managing her own, a counselor at Jack's hospital suggests Lilly see someone for her own mental health before Jack's release. This leads Lilly to the office of Larry Fine (Kevin Kline), a quirky psychiatrist-turned-veterinarian. They form a unique and unlikely bond as they help each other acknowledge and confront their problems. He helps her with the starling whilst embedding ways to help her grieve into their conversations. Lilly begins to become attached to the bird, and when she accidentally hits it with a stone and nearly kills it, she turns to Larry to help her revive the bird.

Still battling those pesky little starlings, klutzy Lilly one day picks up a stone, hits a flying bird dead-on and presents the good doctor with proof. The big third act suspense hinges upon whether the injured winged one can be saved, which, in a relativistic sort of way, will suggest whether or not this blighted couple might also find its way back to a productive life. Quel symbolism. And oh, the suspense!

McCarthy and O'Dowd do their darnedest and give their utmost in a film that wants very much to be an exploration of sorrow and heartache, but also one with a quirky Garden State-style dramedy vibe that sanitizes and just about sinks the entire thing. Throw in the bird (the titular starling) that whisks around in a cloud of overly sentimental pandering, feeling like the feather in Forrest Gump, and the actual serious and wrenching subject finds itself washed out to sea by a tide of silly hokum.

The Starling was filmed in Calabasas, California, and Lilly and Jack's house is in the Santa Monica Mountains. Interestingly enough, the starling that is so significant in the movie was created through CGI (via The Cinemaholic), although the bird looks authentic, and the scenes of Lilly interacting with it feel real and natural. Lilly is living by herself in a large home with lots of land surrounding her, and the movie's message would feel less poignant if she lived in an apartment building and interacted with her neighbors. The setting contributes to the tragic tone, which differentiates The Starling from Melissa McCarthy's most popular movies.

Prompting the inquiry of where The Starling was filmed, the scenes of Lilly gardening outside of her home are emotionally charged and explore the theme of Lilly's grief over her daughter. She meets this tiny starling because she spends so much time outside, and as she becomes increasingly irritated by the bird, she comes to terms with the anger that she has felt for a long time. As she bonds with Larry and learns more about opening up about her mental health struggles, she sees the bird in a different, more positive light.

Netflix: Melissa McCarthy stars as Lilly, a grief-stricken woman who is frustrated when a noisy starling builds a nest near her home. The bird attacks her and Lilly throws herself into getting rid of the bird, with unexpected results. 041b061a72

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