In Birdy, Bella Ramsey stars as a 13-year-old medieval girl who avoids her father’s (Andrew Scott) marriage plans.

A lighthearted tone is complex when the subject is a “tyrannical feudal lord forcing his 13-year-old daughter into marriage with a much older man.” This is exact what Lena Dunham is attempting for Catherine Called Birdy. While the title cards may seem inappropriately cutesy, the trailer introduces us to an intelligent, strong female lead who is very funny.

While Birdy deals with her situation with refreshing humor, she remains aware of her forbidding obstacles, which the other girls must overcome. “Would I choose to die rather than be forced to marry? I do not think either option is appealing. Or fair,” the star regrets. Having a Jo March moment, she insists, “You don’t get to decide who we are, where we go, or how much we cost like we’re just things. We’re not things; we’re people. And we can think, and we can hear, and we can feel!”

Ramsey’s performance stands out, but the supporting cast also shines. First, Birdy’s sleazy father (Andrew Scott) reassures guests that she only has “smallpox,” as does her patient mother (Billie Piper), who declares, “I cheer for you, Birdy, but I fear for you.” Next, there’s handsome Joe Alwyn, willing to plot behind her father’s back but perhaps just as “duplicitous” as any man.

The film is written and directed by Dunham and stars Lesley Sharp, Sophie Okonedo, Ralph Ineson, Isis Hainsworth, Dean-Charles Chapman, and Paul Kaye. The world premiere of Catherine Called Birdy will take place at TIFF on September 23, 2022, with Prime Video debuting on October 7, 2022.