The Starling Girl

Seventeen-year-old Jem Starling struggles to define her place within her fundamentalist Christian community in rural Kentucky. Even her greatest joy of dancing with the church group is tempered by worry that her actions are sinful and she is caught between a burgeoning awareness of her own sexuality and her religious devotion. With the return of Owen, an enigmatic youth pastor, Jem soon finds herself attracted to his worldliness and charm.

Writer-director Laurel Parmet delicately balances difficult issues in this morally complex story. A stellar Eliza Scanlen beautifully conveys Jem’s tentative, impetuous and conflicted journey toward understanding her growingly complicated ideas about herself, her family, and the faith that has always guided her life.

Proceeds to Memorial Arts Centre
Season Sponsor: Rastin's Pharmacy
Film Date Sponsor: Retail Prophet

The language and strictures of their religious community are perfectly rendered by writer and director Laurel Parmet, who captures the complicated interplay of power and immaturity that can blossom in isolated communities. Alissa Wilkinson/Vox

Parmet’s strong script and surety behind the camera navigates the audience through this complicated story of religion and sexuality, patriarchy and power, brought to eerily accurate life by the ensemble of excellent actors. Katie Walsh/The Wrap

Parmet's less interested in cultish dread than a more naturalistic dullness of isolation and groupthink you'd find in any closed conservative society where women of faith have been sold a purity narrative.  Robert Abell/Los Angeles Times

It’s a refreshing change to see this milieu treated with the level of nuance that Laurel Parmet brings to “The Starling Girl.” Peter DeBruge/Variety

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