Though Chris O'Dowd and Melissa McCarthy are best known for their comedy roles and for their past collaboration in Bridesmaids, the actors are taking on serious subject matter in The Starling. The drama film is a tale about heartbreak, grief, and loss.
Melissa and Chris play married pair Lilly and Jack Maynard in the Netflix original. The couple is grieving the loss of their infant daughter, Katie. While Lilly attempts to move on by throwing herself into her work at a grocery store and by focusing on her gardening hobby, Jack seeks professional help at a residential mental facility.
The drama film also stars Kevin Kline as Dr. Larry Fine, a veterinarian with a background in psychiatry, who ends up helping Lilly tackle her own grief head-on. Timothy Olyphant plays Travis Delp, Lilly's less-than-sympathetic manager at the store. Kimberly Quinn is Regina, who recommends that Lilly see Dr. Larry.
While the events in the film mostly take place after Katie's death, viewers may be wondering what exactly happened to her.
In 'The Starling,' what happened to Jack and Lilly's baby, Katie?
The film begins with Jack and Lily painting a nature mural in Katie's bedroom as she naps. The two debate about her future, and whether she will be a podiatrist or a vegan butcher. This lighthearted conversation proves to be heartbreaking, as the following scenes show the parents grieving Katie's death.
As The Starling progresses, viewers slowly learn more information about Katie's passing, and how her mom and dad are attempting to handle the tragedy in different ways.
While Jack is spending time at a facility with counselors, Lilly remains at the couple's home. When she attempts to move forward by removing her daughter's belongings and by working on a garden, a starling bird starts to interfere.
After a difficult visit with Jack at the facility, Lilly has a conversation at her car with Regina. She gives Lilly a recommendation to see Dr. Larry.
When Lilly meets with Dr. Larry for the first time at his vet clinic, she explains that Katie died from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
"My daughter, our baby, died just over a year ago now," Lilly tells the former psychiatrist in the movie. "SIDS, that's what they told us."
According to the CDC, SIDS is the "sudden or unexpected" death of a baby under the age of one. The infant generally passes either while asleep, or when in their sleeping area.
The exact cause of SIDS remains unknown.
Though Dr. Larry initially tells Lilly that he can't help her, the two meet again after Jack's wife sustains an injury from a starling. He begins to tell her about the various stages of grief, and he later agrees to talk with her about how to deal with her bird problem.
The two continue to meet to discuss the birds invading her vegetable garden, but Dr. Larry ends up helping Lilly with her grief.
Where was 'The Starling' filmed?
The drama movie is set in California, but most of the filming actually took place in New York. Several scenes were shot in Calabasas, Calif. as well.
Production commenced on The Starling before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, in August 2019. Filming reportedly concluded shortly thereafter, in September 2019.
About two years after filming wrapped, The Starling debuted on Netflix. The film is available on the streamer now.