The Starling was released on Netflix on September 24, 2021, and immediately climbed the charts on the streaming service. The movie stars Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd, who were both previously in the movie Bridesmaids. That may have set up a certain audience expectation for the comedy, but The Starling is something else. It’s better described as a tragicomedy.
The Starling finds Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd playing a married couple. The Maynards are happily watching fireworks and rubbing the pregnant belly of the happy mother. Soon, we see our characters split apart. Chris O’Dowd is in a mental hospital. Melissa McCarthy is sad and lying on the floor alone. And it soon becomes very clear to the audience that their baby, Katie, has died. She was carried to term but passed away. The trailer for the tragic story shows the grieving mother asking the father why he gets to be so upset and in a mental hospital when she was the one to carry their child for nine months. The story is definitely a tragedy.
Kevin Kline is also in the movie in a major role as a veterinarian. Melissa McCarthy is given a phone number for someone who can help her through her grieving process. She calls it, shows up, and finds herself at the veterinarian’s office. She finds out that Kevin Kline’s character used to be a counselor for humans, but hasn’t been for ten years. She ends up talking to him anyway to learn more about the grieving process. We find out that her character is currently in the anger stage as she is furious at a starling. While this adds some light and comedic elements to the dark story, it’s still, a very sad story. While Melissa McCarthy has been in a wider variety of films in recent years, it’s unlikely that many were prepared for how tragic the story would be.
So far, the reviews have been fairly brutal for the Netflix hit. Roger Ebert rated the movie 1.5 stars. They said that movie was shallow. That the story is desperate to pull on your heartstrings but doesn’t actually get into the depth of the grieving process. Because of this, it ends up reading like a parody of real movies about grief trying for the Oscar. The review was brutal, but they weren’t alone in their thoughts. On IMDb, The Starling has a 6.3 rating, which wouldn’t be too bad for a comedy, but is still fairly mediocre. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie sits at a disappointing 23%. Still, that isn’t stopping people from checking out the Melissa McCarthy movie. The actress has earned her reputation with audiences, and even when a movie is receiving reviews from unhappy audience members, many still continue to check it out.
Recently, Melissa McCarthy released Thunder Force on Netflix. She co-starred in that film with Octavia Spencer. The pair also went to the top of the streaming service. Unfortunately, that movie was also poorly reviewed. The title holds a 4.4 on IMDb and a 21% on Rotten Tomatoes. The story was a wacky comedy where two best friends get together to fight crime. One of them invented a formula to turn them into superheroes, and away they went. While that movie ended up being rated poorly with audiences, it was still more in line with what audiences came to expect from the actress after her appearance in films like The Heat with Sandra Bullock.
The Heat is one of Melissa McCarthy’s most popular movies. It was a buddy-cop comedy where Sandra Bullock played a straight-laced FBI agent and Melissa McCarthy played a local cop willing to break all kinds of rules. One of the elements that could be noted about The Heat is that it didn’t often feel like it was trying too hard to be any particular thing. It was an ordinary and fun story and it kept audiences engaged.
While The Starling may not be getting great reviews, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking out. That’s part of the appeal of Netflix. Audiences can always watch the first few minutes and give it a try. Melissa McCarthy also has a new series streaming on Hulu. Nine Perfect Strangers see McCarthy in a series starring Nicole Kidman. It’s definitely strange-looking, but audiences are enjoying it.