‘The Starling Girl’ Overview: Because the Spirit Strikes

‘The Starling Girl’ Overview: Because the Spirit Strikes

In the fundamentalist Christian enclave the place “The Starling Girl” takes place, Jem Starling (Eliza Scanlen) is a delicate 17-year-old who nonetheless can’t escape the concept she is vulnerable to selfishness.

The supply of that exact reproach is commonly {the teenager}’s intransigent mom, Heidi (Wrenn Schmidt), however past parental scolding, a pietistic angle hangs over this insular Kentucky hamlet like a muggy summer season warmth wave. Jem even acts as her personal castigator, murmuring “out, Satan!” when she feels the urge to masturbate.

Jem’s burgeoning libido coincides with the homecoming of Owen (Lewis Pullman), a stoic 28-year-old who returns from a missionary journey to develop into Jem’s youth pastor. Before lengthy, Jem is nursing a crush on the worldly stud, and Owen, depressing in his marriage and wrestling with conservative Christian dogma, reciprocates her flirtation to start a clandestine affair.

In her debut function, the writer-director Laurel Parmet makes use of her rigidly non secular setting to house in on the ethical anxieties of a younger lady socialized to really feel disgrace about self-importance, sexuality and pleasure. The drama appears to pose the query: How do you come of age when you’re advised that one’s love for all times ought to by no means outweigh one’s constancy to an out of doors authority — be it God, neighborhood or a self-serving older boyfriend?

A young story, “The Starling Girl” twirls by way of a spate of clichés — many encompass Jem’s relationship to her alcoholic father, Paul (Jimmi Simpson) — however sticks the touchdown because of Parmet’s rapt consideration to the shifting wishes of her central character.

The Starling Girl
Rated R. Sins of the flesh. Running time: 1 hour 56 minutes. In theaters.

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