The Starling Girl (2023) Movie: Ending Explained!

In 2023, Laurel Parmet will direct the American drama film The Starling Girl. On January 21, 2023, the picture had its world premiere at the Sundance Picture Festival, and on May 12, 2023, it was distributed by Bleecker Street. The Starling Girl centers on Jem Starling (Eliza Scanlen), a young woman who lives in a fundamentalist Christian neighborhood.

Jem enjoys dancing, especially because she is a part of her church’s dance group. She wrestles with whether her strong religious beliefs are in line with her community’s teachings and her love of dance. Jem’s story centers on her battle to balance her faith, her love of dance, and her developing passions. As Jem navigates the expectations and customs of her conservative Christian community while looking for her own path in life, it addresses themes of identity, religion, and personal growth.  Catch up on all the excitement with our ( breakdown of The Starling Girl (2023) Movie.

The Starling Girl (2023) Movie Story

The 17-year-old Jem Starling lives in a Kentucky fundamentalist Christian neighborhood. She is having trouble determining who she is and where she belongs in the world. On the one hand, she aspires to be a devoted Christian who abides by the customs and teachings of her neighborhood. On the other side, her younger siblings look up to her and she feels the burden of responsibility that comes with being the oldest daughter.  Jem battles moral turmoil and criticism from her religious community on a daily basis. She worries about making poor decisions, offending higher beings, and caving into wicked impulses.

Jem’s parents have already begun to prepare for her future, which will likely involve an arranged marriage. Jem, on the other hand, falls head over heels for Owen Taylor (Lewis Pullman), the man’s elder brother, whom she is supposed to be courting. Owen, who recently got back from a mission, smokes in private. Jem establishes a friendship with Owen while maintaining his privacy. She considers him unique compared to the other grownups in their town and is attracted to him physically. She worries, too, that Satan may be using her feelings to mislead her.

The man Jem is intended to date, Ben Taylor (Austin Abrams) exhibits interest in her, and her parents are happy with the pairing. Jem still has growing feelings for Owen in spite of this. They become closer when Jem persuades Owen to let the dancing group self-choreograph for a Labor Day event. Paul (Jimmi Simpson), Jem’s father, resumes drinking following the loss of a friend. Jem and her father have a close relationship, and she is really worried about him.

In order to spend time alone with Owen in his car, Jem purposely develops a flat tire. They develop a closer bond and occasionally experience sexual tension. Owen, though, withdraws from Jem out of guilt. Jem’s feelings of attraction and love grow stronger, and she prays for mercy since she thinks that Satan is using her feelings against her. Jem consents to court Ben, although her sentiments for him are different from those she has for Owen.

She is heavily influenced by Jem’s mother, Heidi (Wrenn Schmidt), who frequently dismisses issues in her own marriage and blames them on supernatural forces. Regarding her connection with Owen and the demands made of her, Jem is torn.

Jem receives criticism from the other members of the dancing group while choreographing for them. She begs for forgiveness after being hurt by their remarks. When he sees her praying, Owen consoles her. Although the community starts to question their relationship, their friendship grows stronger. Tension arises when Misty, Owen’s wife, learns that Jem has affections for him.

Jem and Owen are having a private moment one night when Misty comes home and interrupts them. Owen does not search for Jem after she hides in the restroom. When Misty learns about Jem’s presence, she confronts Owen, who then moves away from Jem. Jem is distraught, and her relationship with Owen has an impact on how she is perceived by the other dancers.

After making a pill suicide attempt, Jem’s father is admitted to the hospital. Heidi denies making the attempt at suicide and claims it was an accident. Jem is devastated and hurt by her father’s behavior.

Jem’s hurt and rage come out as she watches the dancing group perform at the Labor Day event. She enters the river with Ben behind her, but she tries to drown him out of wrath. After escaping, Ben labels her a maniac and departs.

When Jem gets home, she notices that her mother is smoking, which worries her. It is revealed that Heidi has learned about Jem’s connection to Owen. When Jem hears that Pastor Taylor (Kyle Secor) accuses her of driving his son astray, she decides to do whatever it takes to win back her soul. Jem fears and thinks she will be tortured at King’s Valley, where she is transferred.

The day before she leaves, Owen confronts Jem and apologies for questioning their connection. Heidi steps in to stop him from suggesting that they leave Kentucky together. In spite of this, Jem chooses to depart with Owen, abandoning her family and the neighborhood. While Owen sells his car to pay for their trip to a Puerto Rican mission, they stay at a motel.

When Jem realizes she was looking for escape rather than actual freedom, she feels unfulfilled. She knows that the solution is not to put her happiness in the hands of a bewildered 28-year-old guy. Jem seizes her opportunity for liberation with a fresh sense of resolve.

The Starling Girl (2023) Movie Ending!

Jem makes a bold move by stealing Owen’s car keys when he is sleeping and driving to Memphis. When she enters Arleen’s pub, her father used to perform there, she feels liberated. Jem imagines her father enjoying himself playing there despite the location’s lack of grandeur. She wants to feel the same freedom and contentment that her father once did. Jem dances guilt- and shame-free while experiencing a sense of contentment and liberation. She acknowledges that she can now live her life as she sees fit and make her own decisions.

In the end, Jem comes to the realization that she has been subject to life-controlling decisions made by others. As she comes to realize that she is just as dependent on Owen as she was on her family, she realizes that Owen was not the escape she had hoped for. She instead decides to seize her newly acquired freedom and exercise her own judgment. Perhaps for the first time in her life, Jem finds happiness and joy at Arleen’s in Memphis. Even though she is alone herself and has no intentions or idea of what lies ahead, she is free to choose her own course.

“The Starling Girl” ends with a dramatic and transformative moment of self-discovery for Jem. It stands for her release from the demands and restrictions placed upon her as well as her acceptance of personal agency and the ability to follow her interests and ambitions.

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Olivia Wilson
Olivia Wilson
Olivia Wilson is the senior news writer for TV Acute. She spends too much money on collectables and is enamored with movies, comics, and television series. She loves binge-watching and can spend hours talking about movies and TV shows. She can immerse herself into a good story no matter the genre or form and only come out from it when she's had her fill. When she's not writing, she's probably cooking or exploring new places. You can follow her daily exploits on Twitter and Facebook.

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