Movie Review: Lady Bird
With the year coming to an end, the movies with considerable Oscar buzz are being released in droves. One of those films is Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut. This comedy-drama was written by Gerwig in addition to being directed by her, and the film stars Saoirse Ronan in the lead role. The film follows the character of Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson through her senior year of high school, highlighting her complicated relationship with her mother. In addition to Ronan, some of the supporting cast members include Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, and Timothy Chalamet.
This coming-of-age story begins with Lady Bird riding in the car with her mother, Marion (Metcalf), from a college campus visit. In the midst of the car ride, their conversation disintegrates quickly and concludes with Lady Bird jumping out of the car and breaking her arm. From there, the details of Lady Bird’s life in Sacramento is displayed. Her best friend’s name is Julie, and they both attend high school at a Catholic school in Sacramento. Lady Bird desperately wants to attend college in New York, but she is constantly faced with her family’s lack of resources. The film follows the ups and downs of her senior year, her romantic relationships, and her relationship with her parents while trying to plan for the next stage of her life.
Lady Bird is a film that captures the struggles of adolescence well, and for that reason, I found the film to be enjoyable overall. While not everyone will be able to identify with Lady Bird and the choices she makes, I think everyone can identify with the struggle of figuring out who you are and what you want. It’s an honest coming-of-age story, and the script itself is fantastic. It felt like I had been transported back to the early 2000’s, and the dialogue along with the visuals made the film feel genuine and authentic.
In addition to the tone and script, I attribute a lot of the success of the film to the actors themselves. Saoirse Ronan completely delivers on her portrayal of Lady Bird and the complicated emotions of a teenage girl. She pulls off the inner conflict of this character well, and she delivers on the funnier and more ironic moments as well. The other standout in this cast is Laurie Metcalf, who plays Lady Bird’s mother. Their tumultuous relationship is a major part of the film, and while this character is not usually likable, Metcalf gives a terrific performance. Tracy Letts as Lady Bird’s father is also a joy to watch even though he has fewer moments on screen.
I completely understand why critics are raving about this picture. It is an honest, subtlety funny tale, but I admit that it might not be one of my top ten films of the year. I thought many of the funniest moments were already revealed in the trailer, which is disappointing, and I was a little disappointed that there was not more closure for some of the supporting characters like Danny. Also, while the relationship between Lady Bird and her mother is supposed to be dysfunctional, I had a hard time with their dynamic. I found her mother to be an unsympathetic character, and there were moments that I truly did not care about her arc.
However, despite all of those things, Lady Bird was definitely an enjoyable watch. Heartwarming at times and comical at others, I feel the best way to describe it is by calling it honest. The conversations between Lady Bird and her mother were raw, and the conversations between Lady Bird and her teenage counterparts sound like conversations that teenagers would actually have with one another. It is rated-R and not by any means a family film, but anyone who enjoys independent coming-of-age films will surely enjoy Lady Bird’s quirkiness. It is sure to be an Oscar contender, so anyone who watches potential contenders ahead of time should definitely check it out in theater.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.