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Parents' Guide to

Catherine Called Birdy

By Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Heartfelt medieval comedy adaptation tackles adult themes.

Movie PG-13 2022 108 minutes
Catherine Called Birdy movie poster

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 14+

Not recommended for a family movie night with a 12 year old.

I was disappointed with the recommendation for this movie, especially at 12+. While I might have enjoyed the movie more if I watched it without my kids (we'll never know!), I felt like it was uncomfortable at times and I still regret watching it...days later. The low point was when the lead was asking something about boys/virginity and the friend told her something like, "You know - boys have a sword and girls have a box. The sword goes in the box..." and then continues to talk about other details. My kids know about adult relations (trying to be sensitive here since I don't know if kids read these reviews ever?), but I just felt like this was unnecessary and unfortunate for a family movie night. There were definitely other moments I didn't appreciate, but those topics were covered in the main review. I know it's rating is PG-13, but I trusted the 12+ review and family recommendation too much.
age 12+

Entertaining, witty, and lighthearted (despite portraying some dark things)

There are allusions to a lot of upsetting things that were seen as normal in the setting of the story: disciplining children with beatings and burnings, dying in childbirth, girls being seen as property and being married off to old men. You would want your child to be old enough to be able to process those concepts; be ready to have conversations about them. But they’re handled deftly, I thought, and you feel like these characters will all end up okay. I thought it was fun and thought-provoking and would recommend it for teens and tweens.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Adapted from a popular YA book of the same name, this sweet but edgy coming-of-age comedy is written and directed by Lena Dunham, best known for her breakout show Girls. Whereas that gave an honest and often explicit look at the lives of a group of 20-something women, Catherine Called Birdy turns its attention to female adolescence. In 13th century England, Catherine -- or Birdy as she is known on account of her collection of pet birds -- must deal with the challenges all young teenage girls face, albeit from a position of privilege. This includes navigating her way through her first crush and having her first period, something she goes to lengths to hide from her father for fear it will speed up his desire to marry her off.

Dunham skillfully manages to land the jokes consistently, despite at times dealing with heavy subject matter, including stillbirths and arranged marriages. A routine about "smallpox" is particularly funny. Scott, as Birdy's hapless father, in particular does a great job of keeping his character likable despite his at times abhorrent behavior. But it's Ramsey who is the real star. Flawed like any other 14-year-old, she keeps you rooting for her throughout. There's also a great soundtrack full of excellent cover versions to enjoy.

Movie Details

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