Catherine Called Birdy Trailer: Bella Ramsey Defies Medieval Conventions

I am a sucker for a story about a clever and innovative young woman in a time when young women were supposed to be quiet and submissive. I firmly reject the idea of time travel, as I love flushing toilets and equal rights (such as they are), but even as a little girl, I loved thinking about whether or not I'd be one of those young women who would reject the rules as much as she could and try to live an extraordinary life. It's why I like films like "Enola Holmes," and characters like Arya Stark from "Game of Thrones." Even many of my favorite fantasy novels — like the "Dragonsong" trilogy by Anne McCaffrey — feature young women rebelling against what they're supposed to do. It's why I'm excited for the upcoming "Catherine, Called Birdy" film, directed by Lena Dunham. 

The trailer is out today, and it does seem to have more of an "Enola Holmes" feel than the 1994 novel by Karen Cushman did, though the book is really good as well. (Terrifying to think of living in that time, considering what she had to go through, but then, it's pretty terrifying for women right now as well.) It's the story of a young woman in 1290 CE named Catherine — called Birdy because of her pet birds — who is trying to navigate the plans her family has for her future. It also stars Bella Ramsey, who ensured my lasting devotion to her work with her performance as Lyanna Mormont in "Game of Thrones." If anyone was born to play this role (and someone put this lady in a superhero film ASAP), it's Ramsey. It also stars Billie Piper and Andrew Scott as her parents. 

'Critiquing my father's horrible swordplay'

Here is the synopsis for "Catherine, Called Birdy:"

The year? 1290. In the Medieval English village of Stonebridge, Lady Catherine (known as Birdy) is the youngest child of Lord Rollo and the Lady Aislinn. Her playground is Stonebridge Manor, a house that, like the family, has seen better days. Financially destitute and utterly greedy, Rollo sees his daughter as his path out of financial ruin by marrying her off to a wealthy man for money and land. But Birdy, like all the great teen heroines, is spirited, clever, and adventurous and ready to put off any suitor that comes calling in increasingly ingenious ways. Her imagination, defiance, and deep belief in her own right to independence put her on a collision course with her parents. When the vilest suitor of all arrives, they are presented with the ultimate test of love for their daughter.

Maybe a few years ago I would just have been excited about this film. Maybe it would have been no more for me than a fun way to spend a couple of hours. With everything going on with the rights of childbearing people right now, though, it makes me tear up. It makes me remember that women (and every other marginalized group), young and old, have fought — in both large ways and tiny ones — to better their own lives and those of others. 

That was heavy for something that looks like so much fun, but the world is a dark place right now. I'm excited to see this young lady fight. I hope she inspires another generation to do so as well. "Catherine, Called Birdy" is directed by Lena Dunham, and will hit theaters on September 23, 2022, and on Prime Video on October 7, 2022.