Lady Bird Reviewed
The coming of age story is about Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), a senior at Sacramento Catholic High School in 2002. She wants to go to a college as far away from her hometown, and presumably her mother (Laurie Metcalf), as possible. But her family is struggling financially as her Dad (Tracy Letts) deals with job issues. The movie focuses on everything that happens to Lady Bird in that year as she tries to figure out college and who she is.
This is the most honest examination of what it’s like to be a young girl that I have ever seen, which is strange because it also feels like an incredibly personal story. The movie plays like a biography for writer-director Greta Gerwig. But in those moments of personal truths, Gerwig is sharing ideas with which anyone can identify. I saw this movie with my partner and she said someone must have been following her teenaged self around with a camera because some moments felt like they came out of her life. The more specific the moment that Gerwig creates, the more the audience identifies and empathizes.
Saoirse Ronan is fantastic in the titular role. She plays the right amount of teenage angst and makes it clear she is not trying to force anything to become an over-the-top moment. Everything in the portrayal seems genuine, which to me says she was able to derive this character from personal experience or had a great connection with Gerwig, most likely both. But for me, the best part of this movie is Laurie Metcalf as Lady Bird’s Mom. Both of these characters have trouble figuring out the other despite their obvious similarities. The entire cast is great but the interaction between mother and daughter is the tension that drives the story.
Make no mistake, this isn't some dramatic Oscar movie built to win awards. In fact, throughout most of the story I found myself laughing out loud, even if at times I was the only one laughing. The uncomfortable humor is similar to moments as seen in Meet the Parents, The Office, or Superbad. The biggest difference between Lady Bird and the other movies is beneath the laughs the portrayals of characters feel authentic. Even better, those moments come from the female perspective, one that remains underrepresented on the big screen.
As of this writing, Lady Bird has been reviewed by 185 critics and every one of those critics said it was a good movie. It is now the most reviewed film to maintain its 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, shattering Toy Story 2's previous record of 163 reviews. This is a good movie. In fact, along with Get Out and Dunkirk, this is one of the best movies I've seen this year. Lady Bird isn't just for women who felt like they’ve never seen their experience represented in a movie; it's for anyone who likes great movies. A