Catherine Called Birdy: Bella Ramsey and Andrew Scott star in Lena Dunham’s adaptation of beloved children’s novel

Catherine Called Birdy, Lena Dunham’s long-time passion project, has received rave reviews following its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Discover more about the film.

By Sophia Moir Published: 16 September 2022 - 12.03pm

Catherine Called Birdy has been praised by critics following its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and it’ll soon be available to watch at home.

Based on the children's novel of the same name by Karen Cushman, the film adaptation is directed by Lena Dunham. The former Girls actress-turned-filmmaker adapted the beloved book for the screen after falling in love with it as a child.

The British historical comedy movie follows the adventures of a teenage girl in Medieval England (Birdy, played by Bella Ramsey) as she navigates through life and tries to avoid the arranged marriages her father maps out for her.

Billie Piper, Andrew Scott, Joe Alwyn and Dean-Charles Chapman also star in the Amazon Original film, which will receive a limited theatrical release before being available to stream on Prime Video globally.

From the release date and plot to the cast and trailer, here’s everything we know about Catherine Called Birdy, so far.

What is the Catherine Called Birdy release date?

Catherine Called Birdy will be available to stream on Prime Video globally from Friday 7 October. 

Prime subscription required. 

It will also have a limited release in cinemas from Friday 23 September. 

JOE ALWYN and BELLA RAMSEY star in CATHERINE CALLED BIRDY                                       Photo: ALEX BAILEY                            © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC Prime Video

Who is in the Catherine Called Birdy cast?

  • Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones, The Worst Witch) plays Lady Catherine aka Birdy, above right

  • Billie Piper (I Hate Suzie, Secret Diary of a Call Girl) plays Lady Aislinn, Birdy’s mother

  • Andrew Scott (Sherlock, Fleabag) plays Lord Rollo, Birdy's father

  • Joe Alwyn (Conversations With Friends, The Favourite) plays George, Birdy’s uncle, above left

  • Dean-Charles Chapman (1917, Game of Thrones) plays Robert, Birdy’s brother

  • Isis Hainsworth (Misbehaviour, Metal Lords) plays Aelis, Birdy’s best friend

  • Lesley Sharp (Clocking Off, The Full Monty) plays an undisclosed role 

BELLA RAMSEY stars in CATHERINE CALLED BIRDY                                       Photo: ALEX BAILEY                            � AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC Prime Video

What is the Catherine Called Birdy plot? 

In the Medieval English village of Stonebridge in the year 1290, 14-year-old Lady Catherine (known as Birdy and played by Bella Ramsey) is the youngest child of Lord Rollo (Andrew Scott) and Lady Aislinn (Billie Piper). 

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 if he can marry 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 a series of suitors 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 most vile suitor of all arrives, they are presented with the ultimate test of love for their daughter.

Boost your TV with Prime Video

Catch the all new Rings of Power as well as Clarkson's Farm and The Grand Tour,  plus sports documentaries like All or Nothing and Rooney.

How can I watch the Catherine Called Birdy trailer?

You can watch the Catherine Called Birdy trailer right here. Just click play on the YouTube video at the top of this page.

Who created Catherine Called Birdy?

Catherine Called Birdy is Lena Dunham’s adaptation of the children's novel of the same name by Karen Cushman, which was published in 1994.

Dunham adapted the screenplay and directed the film, which was made by Working Title films (Mary Queen of Scots). 

Lena Dunham on the red carpet Getty Images
Catherine Called Birdy is Lena Dunham's longtime passion project

Catherine Called Birdy reviews: What are the critics saying?

Lena Dunham has been receiving rave reviews for her adaptation of Catherine Called Birdy following the film's premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Adrian Horton from The Guardian gives the film a four-star review, writing that Dunham handles the adaptation of "Karen Cushman’s much-loved novel with wit and creativity". 

She reserves particular praise for Ramsey's portrayal of the teen heroine: “It’s refreshing to see Ramsey, who played Lyanna Mormont on Game of Thrones, embody another medieval heroine without quite so much gore and gloom; with black, dagger-like eyes and a fierce countenance, she is impossible not to root for.”

Vulture's Film Critic Alison Willmore calls the film "delightful", writing that the marvel of the film is “just how well Dunham’s sensibility blends with the lighter touch of Karen Cushman’s beloved children’s novel.”

She also praises Ramsey, calling her “a wonderfully rambunctious presence who bulldozes her way over everyone she shares the screen with”.

Jourdain Searles from The Hollywood Reporter agrees, calling Dunham's fourth film a "delight" and “a sincere effort at the sort of classic young adult films that populated the 90s and early 2000s.” She compliments the book-to-screen adaptation which she says “captures the book’s humorous diary format with cheeky voiceover narration".

 

Catherine Called Birdy is released on Prime Video on Friday 7 October.