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Movie review: 'A Bird of the Air'

Based on Joe Coomer's novel "The Loop," the movie strikes a pleasing balance between amusing and sensitive, largely eluding the potentially precious minefields in their way.

October 07, 2011|By Gary Goldstein
  • Jackson Hurst in the movie "A Bird of the Air."
Jackson Hurst in the movie "A Bird of the Air." (Richard Foreman, Jr. )

Though you could fit its story on the head of a pin, "A Bird of the Air" is a gently involving character dramedy with a pair of appealing leads who help give this offbeat movie flight.

The movie's "Accidental Tourist"-type love match involves New Mexico highway worker Lyman (Jackson Hurst, star material), a loner nursing a traumatic past, and Fiona (Rachel Nichols), a chatty, unflappable librarian at the local college where Lyman has taken a decade's worth of courses.

Their paths cross after a green parrot with an eclectic vocabulary flies into Lyman's trailer, inspiring him to track down the brash, old bird's former owner, which, thanks to Fiona's detective-like research, turns out to be owners, plural — many of them played by such deft character actors as Judith Ivey, Buck Henry, Phyllis Somerville and Gary Farmer.

Whether and how the guarded Lyman will romantically catch up to the smitten Fiona may not keep you on the edge of your seat, but it does make for a warmly diverting ride.

Based on Joe Coomer's novel "The Loop," the movie from screenwriter Roger Towne ("The Natural") and first-time film director and once-busy actress ("The Secret of My Success," "Major League") Margaret Whitton strikes a pleasing balance between amusing and sensitive, largely eluding the potentially precious minefields in their way.


"A Bird of the Air." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes. At Laemmle's Sunset 5, West Hollywood.

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