03rd Jun2014

‘A Birder’s Guide to Everything’ Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Kodi Smit-Mcphee, Ben Kingsley, Katie Chang, Alex Wolff, Michael Chen, James Le Gros, Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, Briana Marin, Ethan Cohn, Adam Barrie, Stephen Kunken, Daniela Lavender | Written by Luke Matheny, Rob Meyer | Directed by Rob Meyer


A teenage bird fanatic called David Portnoy (Kodi Smit-Mcphee) thinks he has seen a duck which was previously thought to be extinct. With guidance from birding legend, Lawrence Conrad (Ben Kingsley) David and his friends set off on an adventure to find it and solidify their place in bird watching history by making the discovery of a lifetime. Little do his friends know, David is also using the adventure to escape his troubles. At the same time, David’s Father is preparing to marry his new wife, the nurse of David’s mother who passed away a few years before.

A Birder’s Guide to Everything is a coming of age tale. Directed by Rob Meyer, this story is a sweet little film with a lot of promise. All four of the characters in this film’s main group do ‘awkward teenager very well. If it isn’t David having awkward exchanges with his love interest Ellen (Katie Chang), it is his best friend Timmy (Alex Wolff) and his misguided belief that bird watching will get him laid, or Peter (Michael Chen), the leader of the bird watching society who takes his role far too seriously. The four combined make a very entertaining bunch as they drive across America in a ‘borrowed’ car to try and find their prize.

While not winning any awards for original storytelling, A Birder’s Guide to Everything does a very good job and I must say, although coming of age films are not my style, I really enjoyed it. It told its story well, in an entertaining manner and I got that warm fuzzy feeling at the end which is always a sign that a film like this has done its job.

There are a few stray story lines which don’t quite work out as you might have thought. For example, the group find a bag of ‘crystals’ in their car which they assume are drugs. As unaware teenagers, they also guess that the car following them is full of drug dealers coming to hunt them down. This could have added an interesting spin on the story, but is actually a bit of a let down when you find out what the truth is.

Apart from this tiny point (and it is quite tiny), A Birder’s Guide to Everything is worth a watch if you want a film which has a bit of a laugh, a bit of a cry and provides a satisfied feeling at the end that you have just seen a good story.

A Birder’s Guide to Everything is available to watch now via Amazon Instant Video (formerly LoveFilm), iTunes, FilmFlex, Blinkbox, Playstation, Xbox, and Google Play.


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