Traditional gender roles that see a backlash in the present day were things that met disdain in the past as well. Even in the 13th century, people wished not to be restricted to the roles that society deemed fit for them at birth. This breaking out of stereotypes and attempting to dream of something more is what forms the central focus of Amazon Prime’s Catherine Called Birdy.


Catherine Called Birdy Movie Review:

Based on Karen Cushman’s novel, the film, starring Bella Ramsey, Andrew Scott, Billie Piper, Ralph Ineson, Paul Kaye, and more, makes good use of archaic English to retain the 1291 setting. Films set many centuries ago rely on costumes to get the idea across, and Catherine Called Birdy’s costume designers do not disappoint. The outfits aren’t glamorous, but they aren’t shoddy gowns used for the sake of it. The somewhat bright hues separate the noble family from the rest of the villagers.

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Screenwriter and Director Lena Dunham keep Birdy’s humorous attempts to deny her suitors, ensuring that audiences don’t lose sight of the motivation behind it. She achieves this with a ‘Crime and Punishment’ montage splitting between the sound of the cane on her palm (her punishment) and her saying/doing the wrong thing at the right time (her crime) to raise a feeling of disgust in whoever comes calling. 

Catherine Called Birdy 2022

Catherine Called Birdy Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

Bella Ramsey plays the titular character. As the daughter of Lord Rollo and Lady Aislinn, she retains elements of her Game of Thrones character (Lyanna Mormont). The teenage girl wants to do more than be a lady. She aspires to join the crusades and be a warrior, but her nurse tells her that no matter what she wears, she will not be able to escape something she finds repulsive.


Lena Dunham ensures that her film’s titular character can be a menace at home. The girl who likes avoiding chores and listening through doors, rolls in the mud, engages in rough play, and ditches all the activities that will train her to be a proper ‘societally established’ lady. Bella Ramsey’s accent keeps in tone with the cinematically established portrayal of medieval characters, and her fiery spirit seems natural. She carries this Amazon Original offering, which makes it good. A film named Catherine Called Birdy would not have flourished and let the other elements thrive had Birdy been a dismal viewing experience, right? 

Andrew Scott, her father, is not keen on marrying her off, but his advisors see that as a solution for his situation. The reluctance comes through, which makes way for a determination as Birdy drives away suitor after suitor. It’s almost like how the kids drive away the nanny in the Nanny McPhee films. In this role, Scott switches from concerned, to perplexed, to frustrated with such ease. He is the same actor who took a cane to Birdy’s palm and enquired about her age in such a shy manner-Two completely different scenes in two different parts of Catherine Called Birdy.

 The film doesn’t just focus on Birdy trying to break the stereotypes, with two other characters also getting the spotlight. While a section may argue that this is more of a present-day occurrence, the urge may have existed even in medieval times. 

While the battle against societal hegemony may be strong, the relentless power of authority and public opinion always wins. However, in the case of Birdy, it was more of empathizing with the other side. At 109 minutes, combined with the humor, family drama, teenage pranks, and dawning of adult responsibilities, Catherine Called Birdy has a reasonable run time. However, it could prove to be a task for audiences unfamiliar with archaic English. It’ll be better for them to ‘leave this be.


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Catherine Called Birdy (2022) Ending Explained 

The film’s ending sees Lady Catherine accept her fate and accept Sir John’s proposal. She stays in her mischievous, jovial persona as she internally reminds herself to “not cry” and blows a raspberry at her family before climbing into the carriage.

Birdy is rescued from her fate and spends her time at the family home. It is here that she sees that other people also have their dreams.


Lord Rollo realizes his folly and fights for Birdy

After a tearful farewell to Birdy, Lord Rollo sees the light and sprints towards the carriage. He demands that he walked back with his daughter, but Sir John refuses, as they had spent the dowry. To settle things, they duel for the right to take Catherine. This shows the character’s growth and resolve, as the film had established that he was an abysmal swordsman. 

Sir John had Lord Rollo at his mercy, having slashed his chest. However, he performed a cowardly act once he was disarmed: ‘Shaggy Beard’ feigned a back injury. I say, feigned as he seemed perfectly all right when he hastened back to the carriage and tried to flee. The residents of the (place) charge forward and free Birdy.


Sir John drives away in a fate that differs from the book

In Karen Cushman’s novel, Sir John met his end differently. However, he left Lincolnshire in shame after losing Catherine due to his forfeiture “retired hurt” duel. Hearing Lord Rollo calls ‘Shaggy Beard’ for precisely what he was is a testament to how Rollo destroyed and got rid of him. It’s almost as though the father picked up some aspects of his daughter’s attempt to drive away her suitors. 

Birdy explains all the things that girls can do

In a monologue to conclude Amazon Prime’s Catherine Called Birdy, the protagonist runs on the lush green grass and talks about all the things ‘a designated lady’ can do. She talks about how girls can run in the fields (something looked down on), how they can invent original curses (the film showed her labeled as insolent and her brother aghast at the mouth she has on her), save the day, keep fighting, and another thing; but that is rather tough.


Not just Birdy, but there are happy endings for all 

When Birdy is back in her bedroom, audiences may understand her delight as she has expressed her desire to sleep in her bed. However, she wasn’t the only one who seemingly got her to wish.

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As Bella Ramsey’s character looks out of the window, she sees Morwenna with Golden Tiger. This is quite a telling sign of breaking established orders, as Morwenna wouldn’t be allowed to be with a man. Also, the goat boy Perkin is seen with a friend in the hay. Though nothing is implied, Lena Dunham drove at this point as she completed the thread where the boy rejected Lady Catherine as he wanted to follow the things he saw when he lay beneath the stars. 

On the family front, Lady Aislinn finally gave birth and expanded her family with Lord Rollo. 

Read More: Here’s Where To Watch And Stream Lena Dunham’s New Movie ‘Catherine Called Birdy’ Online


Catherine Called Birdy (2022) Movie Links: IMDb, Letterboxd
Catherine Called Birdy (2022): Bella Ramsey. Billie Piper, Andrew Scott, Lesley Sharp, Joe Alwyn
Where to watch Catherine Called Birdy

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