Lady Bird (2017) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.

  • Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) is a high school senior from the "wrong side of the tracks". She longs for adventure, sophistication, and opportunity, but finds none of that in her Sacramento Catholic high school. This movie follows the title character's senior year in high school, including her first romance, her participation in the school play, and most importantly, her applying for college.

  • Christine McPherson's (Saoirse Ronan's) senior year of high school in 2002/03 is presented, she the second of two children of Larry (Tracy Letts) and Marion McPherson (Laurie Metcalf). Outwardly, she hates most aspects of her life. She hates that they have long lived a life of barely scraping by, their situation all the worse now as they as a collective are a victim of the poor economy. That economic reality has led to Larry recently being laid off, Marion needing to work double shifts as a counselor at a psychiatric hospital just to keep their heads above water, and Christine's brother Miguel (Jordan Rodrigues) and his girlfriend Shelly Yuhan (Marielle Scott) moving back home in the McPhersons' small and already overcrowded house with one bathroom now for five people. She hates that what her parents have decided to spend on her within their already tight budget is an expensive Catholic private school education at Immaculate Heart, solely because Miguel witnessed long ago some violence outside Sacramento High School, where she would have gone otherwise. At Immaculate Heart, she has only two friends, equally poor Julie Steffans (Beanie Feldstein), they playing upon their outsider status. She hates living in Sacramento, she who is determined to go to a liberal arts college back east, preferably New York City, using financial aid rather than go to a California college such as nearby UC Davis, for which she would eligible for an in-state reduction in tuition, that option already barely affordable. Whether she will even get into college is questionable as she has placed little effort into her school work despite being bright, except perhaps in math. But arguably what she hates the most is her strained relationship with her mother, Marion who is always bad cop to Larry's good cop in the parenting role. Marion and Christine's strained relationship is exacerbated by both being strong willed people. Christine believes that her mother may love her because she has to, but truly doesn't like her. In not wanting to take things from her mother out of a natural course of family, Christine has decided to rename herself "Lady Bird", something she wants everyone to call her from now on. As Lady Bird goes through some major events her senior year - from discovering a new school extracurricular activity which includes boys from neighboring St. Francis Xavier, to testing the waters of dating, possible first love, and the prospect of sex, to wanting to be part of the in-crowd, to truly placing some effort into her short term post-secondary dreams - she and Marion may only have a short period of time to express their true love for each other, family or not, before it's too late.

  • Going by the name of "Lady Bird", the outspoken Catholic high school senior student, Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), is dreaming big of finally leaving her hometown of Sacramento, California, practically on pins and needles to attend a sophisticated New York City college. However, with her average grades and her family struggling to keep afloat, attending a public university closer to home would be a lot cheaper and safer, especially after last year's devastating 9/11 attack. In the end, amidst grades, numerous college applications, a blooming teenage sexuality, and a strong-willed mother who is a real mother hen, Lady Bird must find a way to make her dreams happen. Can she survive life's bumps and cracks?

  • Sacramento, California, 2002. Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) is in her final year of high school. She longs to leave Sacramento and go to college on the East Coast. However, her protective, obsessive mother, pessimistic at her chances, is determined to keep her in California, and ideally nearby to home. Lady Bird's final year of school will be one of discovery, new experiences and finding herself.

  • Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) is a senior at a Catholic high school in Sacramento, California in 2002. She longs to attend a prestigious college in "a city with culture". Her family is struggling financially, and her mother tells her that Lady Bird is ungrateful for what she has. Lady Bird and her best friend Julie Steffans (Beanie Feldstein) join their school theater program, where Lady Bird meets Danny O'Neill (Lucas Hedges). She and Danny develop a romantic relationship, and she has Thanksgiving dinner with Danny's wealthy family instead of her own, disappointing her mother. Their relationship ends when Lady Bird discovers Danny kissing a boy in a bathroom stall.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Set in the year 2002, teenager Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) and her pushy mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf) are driving back to their home in Sacramento, California after a tour of CA colleges. As Lady Bird is about to start her senior year of school, she is already thinking ahead of applying to schools away from California, particularly in New York. She and Marion argue over the issue, and Lady Bird throws herself out of the moving car to avoid hearing her angry mother talk, resulting in her having a broken arm.

    Lady Bird attends a Catholic school and is a long-time friend with Julie Steffans (Beanie Feldstein). The two of them mess around at the market where Lady Bird's adopted brother Miguel (Jordan Rodrigues) works along with Miguel's girlfriend Shelly (Marielle Scott), who also lives with the McPhersons.

    Lady Bird and Julie try out for the school's production of "Merrily We Roll Along". Lady Bird develops a crush on a boy named Danny O'Neill (Lucas Hedges), and the two of them start to date.. They lay in the grass at night and look up at the stars, picking one out and naming it.

    Over Thanksgiving weekend, Lady Bird joins Julie, Danny, and another friend as they smoke weed for the first time. They eat leftovers and laugh when Marion sees them. Later on, the students put on their show. At an after-party, Lady Bird finds Danny kissing another boy in the bathroom stall. She later confronts him over it, and he breaks down crying because he can't bring himself to admit that he's gay to others. Lady Bird hugs him.

    After Christmas break and the start of the new year, Lady Bird starts to make friends with a popular rich girl named Jenna Walton (Odeya Rush). She gets on Jenna's good side when they pull a prank on a teacher by putting a "Just married to Jesus" sign on her car. Later, the two meet up with another student named Kyle Scheible (Timothee Chalamet), who is in a band. They meet up with Kyle and other friends in a parking lot where they like to hang out. Lady Bird and Kyle later hook up at a party at Jenna's house. However, Lady Bird being friends with Jenna causes a strain on her friendship with Julie.

    Lady Bird hangs out at Kyle's house after she decides she is ready to have sex. They do so and he finishes quickly before he tells her that he was never a virgin as he had previously suggested to her. Lady Bird is angry at Kyle for lying, but he doesn't seem too concerned about it. Marion goes to pick her up, and Lady Bird starts crying. Marion then decides to take Lady Bird out.

    The two go to the mall to shop for prom dresses, and Lady Bird becomes upset when Marion criticizes the dresses she tries on. She tells her mom she wants her to tell her she's pretty and that she likes her (not just loves). Marion tells her that she's always encouraged her to be the best version of herself, and Lady Bird worries this is her best.

    Lady Bird checks the mail for college letters. She is disappointed at being rejected for most colleges due to her average-to-poor grades, but she becomes excited when she is told she is on the waiting list for a New York college.

    Kyle picks Lady Bird up on prom night with Jenna and her boyfriend. They decide they want to ditch prom altogether and go somewhere else. Lady Bird tells Kyle to drop her off at Julie's house. When she gets there, Lady Bird and Julie make up and head to prom together. Julie also tells Lady Bird she may not see her for the summer because she's going to stay with her divorced father who lives far away.

    Lady Bird and her friends graduate. While at lunch with her family, Danny passes them and accidentally lets it slip that Lady Bird is on a waiting list for the NY school, despite her telling her family she was going to University of Davis to stay close to home. Marion gets very upset and stops talking to Lady Bird for the summer, even as she tries to explain herself.

    Come September, Lady Bird bids her family and friends farewell. Her parents take her to the airport, and Marion is still not talking to her. Larry takes Lady Bird to the gate as Marion goes to park, but she then tries to make it to the departures entrance. She runs tearfully into Larry's arm, assuring her that Lady Bird will return.

    At college in New York, Lady Bird goes to a party where she gets very drunk. She meets a guy and introduces herself as Christine. They start to hook up but Lady Bird pukes and winds up in the hospital from alcohol poisoning.

    Lady Bird wakes up and leaves the hospital. She walks back toward her dorm through the city and then stops to call home. It goes straight to voicemail, so she leaves a message for Marion saying she should have told her more how much she loves her.

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