Updated: Oct 30, 2021
I am by no means a movie critic, but I thought this piece was worth talking about. “The Starling” is a new movie release (2021) that was profoundly touching. I started to watch it by myself, late one evening, something that I almost never do, but about half an hour in, I turned it off. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it, quite the contrary. But I thought it was something we should watch together as a couple.
The next time we had an evening lull, I mentioned to my husband that I found a movie I would like to watch. I’m sure he looked at me in shock, as I hardly ever find a movie (he's the one that usually finds us good things to watch!). But he readily agreed to my suggestion.
As we sat crunching on popcorn and watching the story unfold, it was hard to hold myself in check. I felt everything that Lilly was feeling so deeply. I saw Jack and his pain that was so hard to express. I sat and watched, not tearing up as I normally would in a story like this, but just feeling. I could relate on such a deep level. I felt like I was there in each moment.
I don’t want to share too much of the story, because if you’re reading this, I think you should watch it! But I will give a bit of an overview to give some context.
The story portrays Jack and Lilly Maynard as parents, then following the loss of their daughter, Katie. The film doesn’t show the loss, just implies that it happened. But the story of each person's way of dealing with their loss is powerful. (Disclaimer: there is some strong language throughout, but I also felt that it was there for a reason--to show the depth of grief.)
Grief is not pretty, it doesn’t come packaged up with a beautiful bow. It’s raw, messy, and unfiltered.
Everything about this film feels unfiltered. Raw. Critics might say the storyline doesn’t go anywhere, or the cinematography isn’t great. But I felt it was perfect. Grieving is not great. It feels like it doesn’t go anywhere. But it’s part of the process. The anger, depression, anxiety, acceptance and full on rage...this is messy. The loss of a child is messy. There's no guide to it. It contains untold grief that is hard to imagine. And yet that is the reality of losing someone dear to you.
There are many more points that could be pulled out, but what I really loved about this story is how it ends...them tackling this crazy bird (the starling) together! It didn't end with them having another baby to feel that void. It didn’t end with them coming to grips with reality, or “moving on.” It literally ended with them together, holding hands, charging out
This spoke volumes to me. Losing a child is devastating. And it really pulls out what your marriage is made of. Even in a strong and vibrant marriage, you are shaken. Each of us grieves differently, but there has to be a coming together. A way forward. A togetherness, even when you feel everything but together.
We are designed to be together. Our vows that were taken at the altar say “for better or worse.” We could never fully comprehend what that could mean until we begin our marriage, and live it out (for more on this topic, Vadim has a great blog For Better or Worse). Standing together, like we literally did the day we married, is the most powerful decision we could ever make when we go through hard times.
“What God has joined together, let no one come between.”