Lady Bird takes the tired genre of the coming-of-age story and presents it with an awesome script, real heart, fantastic performances, and honesty.
Director: Greta Gerwig
Summary: The adventures of a young woman living in Northern California for a year.
You know this isn’t going to be your typical teenager coming-of-age movie within the first few minutes of Lady Bird when Christine (Saoirse Ronan), AKA Lady Bird, nearly throws herself out the door of a moving car to escape a conversation with her mother (Laurie Metcalf). It’s the sort of moment you don’t expect in movies like this, yet here it is.
Lady Bird has been brought to life by writer/director Greta Gerwig, who channels a level of honesty that we don’t see in these movies very often. We see a middle-class girl lying to the popular kids so they’ll think she’s cooler. We see her gain a few boyfriends and lose and gain a few friends. Lady Bird, as a character, is all over the place — because that’s how we all are at 17 or 18.
The R rating means the movie doesn’t shy away from the harsher points that come at this age. That includes drinking, sex, and other things that teenagers go through during this time of their lives. It just makes the movie feel that much more honest. These kids are terrible to each other, and Lady Bird is just as guilty as the bullies she used to avoid. Lady Bird takes place back in 2002, in a world still reeling from the effects of 9/11. It can seem odd to hark back to something that wasn’t that long ago, but Gerwig’s script captures it all beautifully.
While the script is already fantastic, when put in the hands of Ronan and Metcalf, it becomes something magical. These two beautiful and complex women clearly love each other while their personalities clash in a way only a mother and daughter with strong personalities can. Ronan plays Lady Bird with the ease of someone stepping into a second set of skin, and we watch her transform to fit in with each different person she surrounds herself with. Metcalf perfectly plays a mother struggling to keep her family afloat while battling against her headstrong daughter. They butt heads, they love each other, they hate each other, and they’re family — so it’s all the same.
Lady Bird is a rare film that feels sincere and is captivating to watch. They don’t make coming-of-age movies like this one anymore, and even rarely do all of the elements come together so perfectly. Lady Bird is a movie you don’t want to miss, because this is one of those movies that everyone is going to be talking about in a few months.
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