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review

The chickens come home to roost in The Birdwatcher, an affecting drama about the disturbing of nests. In Canadian director Siobhan Devine's modest debut feature, Camille Sullivan plays Saffron, a single-mother social worker dying of cancer. She's worried her children (a sullen teen girl and her precocious kid brother) will end up in foster care after she's gone. That little plot driver is implausible but workable. In desperation, Saffron tracks down her birth mother, an ornery ornithologist who gave up Saffron as a baby. In a lovely B.C. forest, the anti-social birdwatcher – she's "Birdy;" her steadfast husband is "Finch" – leads tours. "If the mother bird is frightened," Birdy tells her flock of binocular-clutching fans, "she might leave her hatchlings." That's ornithological allegory and there's more where that comes from. The Birdwatcher isn't for everyone, but those who know a yellow-rumped warbler from a woodpecker and those who appreciate a thoughtful story about the upsetting of delicate habitats will find reward.

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