The Starling trailer opens with a pregnant couple happily gazing at the fireworks in anticipation of the joy they would be welcoming soon. As the trailer progresses, it becomes rather obvious that they lose the baby which puts a strain on their marriage as well as their individual mental health. 

Directed by Theodore Melfi, we see subtle hints of humour by the protagonists – Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd. While humour could be a coping mechanism that they use to deflect their grief, the trailer lays out the major plot of the movie barely leaving any room for surprises. The Starling has been selected for the Toronto International Film Festival and is set to address some important unspoken issues. From the impact losing a child can have on a couple’s marriage to expression of grief by both the partners, the trailer outlines it all. 

There were two interesting parts to the trailer. The first one being a fight between a territorial starling (bird) and Lilly Maynard (Melissa McCarthy) and the second one a veterinary doctor named Larry (Kevin Cline) offering or rather getting coaxed into offering grief counselling by Lilly. The vet familiarizes Lilly with the stages of grief and prepares her for what comes next. He not only pushes her to move forward from Katie, her lost daughter, but also urges her to find the missing rapport with her husband. 

Jack (Chris O’Dowd) is in a mental health facility trying to cope with his grief. On a visit to meet him, Lilly says, “I carried her for nine months so why are you here?” This is what stood out to me the most as we tend to undermine how equally invested and responsible fathers are in pregnancy and belittling their grief is in fact wrong. Lilly and Jack seem to have exchanged gender roles in this film, probably aiming to make an impactful point. 

The film promises to deliver a reflection on grief & its many manifestations and also hopefully contribute to the conversation around not only mental health but on the role & attachment that a father develops during pregnancy.

The Starling is set to release on 24th September on Netflix. You can watch the trailer here – 


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