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Scheme Birds (2019)Scheme Birds (2019)

Scheme Birds (2019)

A narrative documentary about a young Scottish woman entering adulthood and motherhood against a backdrop of violence

Documentary, Drama

best
THE VERY BEST

8.2

movie

Sweden, United Kingdom

English

Discussion-sparking, Slice-of-Life, Thought-provoking

2019

Ellen Fiske, Ellinor Hallin

87 min

Synopsis

As her adolescence gives way to the obligations of motherhood, troubled Gemma matures in Motherwell, her Scottish hometown, heavily dependent on the steel industry. Unfortunately for her, her hedonistic way of understanding the world does not fit in with the philosophy of the rest of the villagers, so trouble soon follows.

Our Take

8.2
Taylor Leigh Harper

In Motherwell, you either “get locked up or knocked up,” or so says Gemma, a teenager on the cusp of adulthood growing up in an old Scottish steel town. Gemma runs among a tight-knit group of friends, at the center of which is ordinary mischief, routine, and roughhousing. And beneath that lies a certain kind of everyday violence. 

As Gemma enters young motherhood, she reckons with how to reconcile her own aggressions with the protective tenderness she feels toward her newborn. Beautifully and thoughtfully directed by Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin, Scheme Birds never feels invasive. Rather, their documentary lets Gemma speak for herself—and in doing so, illuminates not just her life, but the complicated lives that intersect hers, too. 

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