Movie Review: A Birder’s Guide to Everything

birders_guideTom and I ventured over to the Sundance Cinemas theater in West Hollywood on Friday night to catch the first showing of A Birder’s Guide to Everything. It’s a new indie film directed by Rob Meyer, and written by Luke Matheny, and Rob Meyer.

A Birder’s Guide is a coming-of-age movie starring Kodi Smit-McPhee as David Portnoy (I know him as the voice of Norman in Paranorman). In the movie, David and his friends set off on a trip (wild chase) to find and photograph a possibly extinct duck that David spotted while on his bike. When he spotted the duck, he was able to snap a shoddy photo of it, which he took to a famous birder played by Ben Kingsley, who gave his thoughts on it. This ignited the kids’ spark to take a chance at making a big discovery.

The characters in this movie are diverse, well-rounded, and all add to this movie’s charm. A Birder’s Guide keeps the momentum going and we were consistently entertained throughout. There are many gorgeous nature and bird shots in this movie and the production value was top-notch. Being a birder myself I loved hearing all of the different bird names, sounds, and the characters talking about ‘life lists’ and other things. Even if you’re not a bird enthusiast you’ll enjoy this lovely movie.

Since we saw this movie on opening night, writer Luke Matheny was there doing a Q&A afterwards. I asked him, “Do you go birding yourself?” and “What kind of research went into making a movie about birds?” His reply:

I haven’t been birding much myself. As far as research for the movie, the location in the movie changed several times during the writing process, so we had to change all of the birds that were mentioned and shown in the movie so that they would be accurate for the region the movie took place in. (Which ended up being New York)

He also mentioned that this movie is based off of a similar short movie by Rob Meyer, where the main character’s fish dies and he is trying to find a super rare aquarium fish.

I’m glad they upped the stakes in this full-length feature and changed it from fish to birds. I have no passion for fish.

Look for local screenings of this movie!

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Jeffrey Mann

Author: Jeffrey Mann

A late-20s birder living in Los Angeles. Enjoys birding on the weekend, and loves checking out new areas in SoCal for opportunities to photograph wildlife. When not obsessing about birds, you can find him cross stitching or playing Nintendo games.

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