Why the film deeply touched the director and cast of The Starling Girl
The Starling Girl It expanded into a wider release last week and has since generated wildly positive reviews. That’s no surprise. It’s a remarkable film, written and directed with care and depth Laurel Parmet. This extraordinary coming-of-age story, in which Eliza Scanlen plays the prominent role of 17-year-old Jem Starling, is thought-provoking.
The story follows Jem as she tries to understand certain emotional limitations in the fundamentalist Christian community in which she lives with her parents (Wrenn Schmidt And Jimmy Simpson) in rural Kentucky. When the vicar’s son, Owen (Lewis Pullman), returns from a trip, Jem and Owen become friends through church activities, and later surprisingly even more beyond the confines of the church.
The film’s slow build is a marvel at times, and the entire cast shines here, while the director skillfully crafts a story that’s nonjudgmental on all fronts. Laurel Parmet, Wrenn Schmidt and Jimmi Simpson spoke to MovieWeb about the profound impact the film had on them. Continue reading.
A deeply personal connection to history
Laurel Parmet made a name for herself with her sensitive-eyed short films. With the star girl, The writer-director went even deeper, drawing on her own real-life experiences. The result is great cinema here, but it’s also Parmet’s personal journey that stands out.
“I was in a relationship with an older man as a teenager and didn’t see myself as a victim. I had a lot of leeway in the relationship, and after it ended I felt a lot of negative, bad feelings. I didn’t think about it for a while and then pushed it aside,” the writer-director shared. She continued:
Years later I was in Oklahoma doing research for another project and met a group of women from a patriarchal church and learned about their faith. They believed that it was a woman’s responsibility not to tempt a man and that her sexual desires brought with them a great deal of shame.
“My first reaction to that was, ‘This is very backward,'” Parmet added. “But the more I thought about it, the more I realized what we had in common, specifically in terms of the way we were raised and our attitudes towards our desires, our bodies and our sexuality. The quest for approval, men, and sexual shame are universal experiences, no matter what your upbringing. That was a crucial turning point for me. It made me think about my relationship in a way I hadn’t done before and started to wonder, ‘Why did I have this?’ He was taking advantage of me.’ I decided to tell a story about my experiences and set it in this world that mirrors our own world. Our culture is also strongly influenced by conservative Christian thinking. It literally affects my daily life and it affects us too. I tried to understand that better.”
Find Eliza Scanlen
Born in Los Angeles, Parmet lived in New York for many years, where she aspired to write compelling stories. How she evolved The Starling Girl, eventually Eliza Scanlen caught her radar. Indeed, when she first saw Scanlen in large sharp objects, She was “overwhelmed” by the young actress.
“I felt immediately that she was exactly who I wanted for the role,” beamed Parmet. “Eliza is so good at balancing light and dark. She has that innocence but is also so wise beyond her age. Sometimes I forget how young she is. The wildness that is so important for the character simmers in her, too. She’s my favorite actress, my favorite collaborator.”
When asked if created The Starling Girl In a way, being cathartic for her, Parmet shared, “Yeah, mostly. I still don’t know how to feel about my situation. Some days I feel completely taken advantage of. Other days I’m like, “I don’t know, I was mature then.” I keep thinking about what I think about this. And I’ve always done that, but I think I feel like I’m okay with that now. I don’t need to have a definitive answer as to how it was for me personally; I can deal with that and I’m fine with that.”
Wrenn Schmidt on the portrayal of faith in film
Wrenn Schmidt, who previously starred For all mankind And Pushed out, When the project came her way, she was immediately hooked on the script. As Heidi, Jem’s strict mother in the film, she found the role a welcome challenge. Heidi is a complex character and Schmidt embodies her so well here. Aside from feeling moved by the story, the film also allowed the actor to reflect on some of the deeper messages – faith, belief, strict adherence to rules and behavior.
“I also felt like this was a good time to release the film because maybe now more than ever it’s very difficult for people to come to terms with belief systems other than their own,” Schmidt said. “The root of all of this is really something that moves people emotionally and touches them personally. Finding a way to understand each other is one of the beautiful things we can do. In some ways, that’s something we’re asked to do as actors in a film, on a basis very different from most of our personal experiences.”
She further noted that the film raises questions about one’s belief systems and allows audiences to challenge the idea of feeling limited. The Starling Girl also raised many questions about the role of women in the world and especially in men’s lives.
“I liked that the film also raised questions about how beliefs affect young women and men – how they should behave, how they should act, how they should be seen, how they should or shouldn’t be sexually,” Schmidt added added. “There really is a big question mark over how these belief systems impact each of our identities. But it’s such a confusing time to be a young woman, or to be a woman. There are so many conflicting messages about how to do right and wrong and how to be perceived. That’s one of the most interesting aspects of the film.”
Jimmi Simpson’s personal version of The Starling Girl
Audiences will remember Jimmi Simpson from his roles in Westworld and for lending his voice to Drednok Star Trek: Child Prodigy. Simpson plays Jem’s father, Paul the star girl, a role that forced him to think about things in his own life.
“Paul was so familiar to me. I think it’s kind of universally understandable,” Simpson shared. “I was interested in the concept of Paul and even his presence in the film and how he ultimately influenced me personally prior to filming. And it wasn’t religious [affect]. It’s like we humans are so rudderless. We are looking for guidelines for how we are doing well. And mine was religion. For example, “Okay, this is what I should do to get some enlightenment or clarity about my life.” And when I got into that situation, I kept getting engulfed in it.
“So I kept bending to his will and thinking, ‘Well, I should do that,’ without really coming to terms with the fact that I’m disappearing,” Simpson continued. “It takes a lot of work to get out of a situation like this. And it’s almost more universal to stay with this situation. And it’s the tragedy of the people, whether it’s a relationship, a religion, a cult or whatever.” Diet.”
In addition to the solid cast here, Simpson praised writer-director Laurel Parmet, calling her “unflappably” talented. “I couldn’t believe how good she was. I watched her short films online and her articulation of those tiny little stories was great.” Sure, her handheld cameras are so beautiful. Then I talk to her and find out that she is this sweet, humble young woman who has the greatest passion for storytelling […] It’s just so rare that a director can handle the material without a doubt. I have no doubt that she will be more of a brilliant storyteller; one that we have had to welcome to this business for some time.”
Catch the star girl, from Bleecker Street, at the cinema.