Birds of Prey is the Ultimate Thanksgiving Movie Because Why Would You Want to Argue About That Right Now?
I sure know what I’m thankful for this year: darkly joyful Margot Robbie vehicle, Birds of Prey. It’s the ultimate late-fall gratitude film. Besides the parallel themes of food, chosen family, and commitment to a color scheme, the movie is also easy to follow and fun to watch. You might be tempted to argue that attaching Thanksgiving energy to an R-rated superhero movie that was released in February to mixed reviews isn’t a good idea, but that seems like a poor allocation of mental resources. Also we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and this actually doesn’t affect you in any way.
At its core, Birds of Prey is a movie about an emotionally unfulfilled woman attempting to eat. Talk about turkey time! The first twenty minutes follow Harley Quinn traipsing through the streets of Gotham trying and failing to eat ‘the perfect breakfast sandwich.’ There is nothing more suited to this year’s autumnal holiday of suburban gluttony than the breakout star of the Wolf of Wall Street wearing pigtails dyed in Kool Aid trying to go all Gobble Gobble on a bodega bacon egg and cheese. And to those who would disagree, Why? What do you have to gain by taking issue with this gleeful thematic shoehorning of a generally well-to-fine-reviewed, female-led film? Go meditate or something.
But just like every third Thursday in November, we can’t eat until we all hold hands and say grace. This is a family holiday after all. And Birds of Prey (or the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) has got the stuffing when it comes to complicated relational ties and found family. This all-female fight-tastic feast of talent has everything you could want from a turkey day hen fest: the best friend going through a breakup, the alcoholic lesbian aunt, the hot talented cousin, the petulant neighbor teen, and the orphan who trained as an assassin in order to avenge her family’s murder by systematically taking out every single member of the mob associated with their massacre. Friendsgiving much!?
If it feels to you like we’re trying too hard, maybe feel something else instead! Like appreciation for your health, reverence for front line workers, or simply peace from the fact that you’re under absolutely no obligation to watch this movie or read this review. We are having a great time!
And if you’re on the hunt for a Cornucopia of character development riches, look no further than our plucky (!) villain turned protagonist, deftly brought to life by Sharon Tate foot impersonator, Margot Robbie. “In a time of year where we traditionally, as a nation, pardon turkeys,” the movie presciently asked us upon its release 7 days before Valentine’s Day, “can’t we find it in our hearts to pardon this avian-themed criminal team and see them as a squad of anti-heroes?” And if you think this turkey talk is all a bunch of baloney, first of all, ask Alexa to play you some Debussy and get you a chill pill. And second, the logline literally says “it’s Open Season on Harley Quinn.” No foul play in these fowl parallels! Is Harley the predator or the prey? The eater or the eaten? The bird of prey or the prayed over bird? Of course we know those last two are the same thing but if you’re dwelling on that over the super-fun word play I literally don’t know what to tell you.
And with a supporting cast of Ewan McGregor, Chris Messina, and Alli Wong, you won’t have to pick between the turkey or the sides. All of this movie is a bountiful harvest of whimsy, talent, and actively waiting to shit (no spoilers!!). If that doesn’t seem like the type of thing you’d enjoy, we don’t care! We’re stuck in our house with an HBO Max subscription, determined to wring holiday happiness out of the bullshit cheesecloth that is 2020 and we’re actively inviting you to join in on the fun.
Whether or not you decide to embrace this oeuvre that literally has Bird in the title as your celebratory cinematic experience this Thanksgiving is between you and your God. In the meantime, we’re serving our turkey alongside bacon, egg, and cheese. We’re celebrating sweater weather with a caution tape and glitter jacket. And we’re embracing the mix of gratitude and nostalgia that can only be achieved by committing to fun, laughing through disappointment, and shamelessly attaching incredible emotional significance to a pretty fine movie from February of this year.