Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothee Chalamet and Beanie Feldstein.
Directed by Greta Gerwig.
Written by Greta Gerwig.
Lady Bird is the striking directorial debut by Greta Gerwig that is assured, singular and affecting. It tells a beautifully plain coming of age story following a teenage girl called Christine (who calls herself ‘Lady Bird’) as we explore the complexities of her relationships and trials of growing up. Though I describe the story as plain, it is certainly not boring and with the absolute powerhouse of Saoirse Ronan at the helm, supported by the outstanding talent of Laurie Metcalf, there is so much for the audience to be invested in.
The opening of the movie shows a very normal conversation between a mother and daughter in the car on the way home from a college trip – both moved by a series of cassette tapes that had just come to an end and quickly escalates into a spontaneous teenage tantrum propelled by a mother who is quick to take a pop at her daughter. Straight away the scene is set – we are introduced to one of the main themes considered throughout the film, the ever changing, volatile, ups and downs of the relationship between a seemingly ‘normal’ mother and daughter. A daughter with big dreams, lacking in patience and somewhat unaware of others while wrapped up in her own plans and a mother who wants the best for her daughter but knows her temperament and is frustrated by her ignorance and lack of understanding surrounding ‘grown up problems’. The scene ends with the unexpected but hilarious moment of Lady Bird opening the car door and throwing herself out of it while still driving along, followed by the horrified screams of her mother.
The script is just brilliant, it’s so authentic and conversational whilst flipping to either hilarious moments of quick comedy or deeply saddening moments. It keeps each scene moving along nicely while showing the audience more of each character with each sentence. One of the reasons I rate this film so highly is it’s impact on me; each time I watch it I seem to focus on a different theme that is subtly woven into the plot. Thanks to Ronan’s brilliant charm, the audience very quickly empathises with her character and is invested in each challenge that she faces on a day to day basis.
In what was the first in an undoubtably long run of films directed by Greta Gerwig, we get a glimpse at the type of stories she wants to tell. We see strong but imperfect female leads, a consideration of social and economical division and a focus on human relationships; all important issues with hundreds of stories to tell. This film is an easy watch, it’s not long but it has so much to say. Completely original, refreshingly honest.
“What I really want is to be on math olympiad”
“But math isn’t something you’re terribly strong in”
“That we know of, yet”