Magpie Funeral draws you in with appealing characters who grapple with life and death issues, yet the tone of the film is far from maudlin. A study in the power of friendship and perseverance, the three lead actors, Darren Burrows, Meredith Shank, and Elizabeth Leach give stellar performances. It is heartwarming to see Darren Burrows who portrays the main character of Sy so well, and keep an eye on young Elizabeth Leach, who stole my heart. The soundtrack is particularly moving, and the cinematography is very creative. This film is thought provoking and at times humorous and a great choice for family entertainment!
Reviewed by beckynicolaides10 / 10
An indie gem
Magpie Funeral is a little gem of a film. It's the story of a man who loses his close friend in a car accident. He meets a young widow, and her daughter at the cemetery, and they develop a close, if unlikely friendship. When a misunderstanding unfolds around a project she's been working on, their friendship is put to the test.
Although death and loss are a big part of the story, Magpie Funeral is a funny, touching film -- never a downer. It has great performances by Darren Burrows and Meredith Shank as the lead characters, and Elizabeth Leach does a wonderful turn as the daughter.
Other standouts include David Weisenberg who plays an obnoxious boss and Mario DiDonato plays a very funny literary agent.
This is a wonderful indie movie, with a heart.
Reviewed by Film_Shark9 / 10
Tugs at your heartstrings
The Magpie is a bird known to hold funeral-like gatherings for their deceased friends. Is this a sign of grief? Bird experts certainly thinks so. Director Gregory James Green's latest film, 'Magpie Funeral' explores grief, loss, and hope. Coping with loss is painful and never easy. This heartfelt drama deals with how to find purpose in one's life after experiencing a tragic event. It is a story we can all relate to. It's about finding human connection. 'Magpie Funeral' will tug at your heartstrings and not let you go until the closing credits. Put this indie gem on your must-see list.
Sy McMurphy (Darren Burrows) is an aspiring screenwriter. He gets one rejection letter after another from Hollywood agencies. To make ends meet, he works as a director for a local TV station. His boss Randy (David Weisenberg) has a personal vendetta against him and takes satisfaction from Sy's failures. Sy is also a bird lover that always seems to give him solace at the right time. When tragedy strikes, Sy is faced with a painful journey. One day he has a chance encounter with Nancy (Meredith Shank) and her precocious daughter, Lisa (Elizabeth Leach). Since they are all dealing with loss, this new friendship is a welcome gift into Sy's life.
The cast is first-rate. Notably the protagonist Sy played by Darren Burrows. He is best known for his role on the 90s hit TV show, Northern Exposure. Green reflects, "Darren brought a depth to Sy that I was not expecting. He blew me away. Every scene was expertly nuanced." Another praiseworthy mention goes to the actor that plays Sy's nemesis, Randy. David Weisenberg's portrayal of that guy in our lives that tries to kill our dreams is spot-on. One of the standout performances goes to Meredith Shank as Nancy. She embodies the feelings of grief and loss. Her daughter Lisa played by the delightful Elizabeth Leach delivers an endearing performance on how kids deal with loss differently than adults. The chemistry between Sy, Nancy and Lisa build this incredible connection that helps them get through this painful episode in their lives.
The film was shot in Los Angeles, Oklahoma City and the Boise area where the filmmaker calls home. One of the key locations of the story takes place in a cemetery. You might think that it is a strange place for some of the scenes. It makes perfect sense. Remember the magpies and how they surround their departed friend? One magpie will fly away and return with pine needles to lay around the body. Once they pay their last respects, each one takes its turn flying away. It's a powerful metaphor throughout the film.
'Magpie Funeral' is about overcoming loss and pursuing your dreams. It is okay if you don't achieve that precise goal. The key takeaway is enjoying the journey along the way. Green is achieving his goal with 'Magpie Funeral.'