‘The Starling’ trailer: Melissa McCarthy deals with a bird, grief in Netflix drama

The Starling Melissa McCarthy
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix is priming audiences for its fall movie schedule. After announcing release dates for its entire fall/winter slate, Netflix has debuted the first trailer for the Melissa McCarthy-led drama The Starling, which will get an exclusive release in select theaters on Sept. 17 before launching on the streaming service Sept. 24.

Directed by Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures, St. Vincent) and from a script by Matt Harris, The Starling follows Lilly Maynard, who not only is grieving the loss of a child but is left alone when her husband has a mental breakdown. When a combative starling builds a nest by her home, her attempts to at first expel the bird and then co-exist with it help her rediscover herself.

McCarthy is joined in the film by Chris O’Dowd as her husband and Kevin Kline as a former therapist-turned veterinarian who she gets help from. Also in the cast are Timothy Olyphant, Veronica Falcón, Daveed Diggs, Elisabeth Rӧhm and Jimmy O. Yang.

The trailer for The Starling is a showcase for the emotional journey that McCarthy goes on with the character. While she is best known probably as a comedian (Oscar-nominated for Bridesmaids) she has also proven to be great in dramatic roles as well (Oscar-nominated for Can You Ever Forgive Me?). Kline also looks to be in fine form. Give the trailer a watch for yourself below.

In a world still impacted by the pandemic, it is interesting that Netflix, which has always had a bit of a contentious relationship with theaters, is choosing to give a number of its films exclusive runs in theaters before arriving on its service (however brief). This would previously happen when Netflix wanted a film to qualify for Oscars, but temporary rules for the awards don’t make that necessary this year. Maybe these theatrical releases are signs of confidence in these titles, or Netflix extending an olive branch as streamers and theaters still debate the future of distribution.

Either way, moviegoers will be able to see The Starling in select theaters come Sept. 17; please be aware of your local health guidelines when traveling to the theater. Then on Sept. 24, Netflix subscribers can start streaming The Starling from home. The film is also playing at the Toronto International Film Festival, which is running from Sept. 9-18 and has a digital screening component for this year.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.