Lady Bird (2017)
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Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Ronan) is a senior student in a Catholic high school, the film roughly covers her last year before starting her tertiary education, "Lady Bird", a named given to her by herself, has a headstrong streak written in her genes, like gazillions of other pubescent spirits peopled around our globe, she revolts against her quibbling mother Marion (Metcalf), and at the same time, desperately seeks for the latter's validation, she wants her mother to like her (as a person), not just love her (because she is her daughter), a sagacious point poignantly reverberates with audience in its universality and intimacy, and the truth is, there are many such sensible touches populated in Gerwig's stimulating script, which can be partially accounted for LADY BIRD's runaway success, because empathy and amenity are like ambrosia, really as scarce as hen's teeth under the designation of "chick flick".
Lady Bird embraces the "me against the whole world" scenario with brio and chutzpah, throwing back talk both at home and at school in order to snatch the evanescent one-upmanship, and makes erroneous choices in her romantic quests, both Danny (Hedges, unexpectedly versatile in projecting a tenderness that is contrarian to his braggadocious Oscar-nominated turn in MANCHESTER BY THE SEA 2016) and Kyle (Chalalmet, what a killjoy!) are anticlimactic episodes, the one with whom she attends the high school prom is actually her best friend Julie (Steffans), romance is transitory, but friends are for life, another lesson learned after her inept hobnobbing with the popular (yet vacuous) gal Jenna (Rush) in order to catch the attention of the cool boy Kyle.
All in all, the most intense bond is of course, the familial one, on her pursuance of severing the umbilical cord, Lady Bird eventually comes to terms with her christened name, her modest, imperfect family, her benevolent and supportive father Larry (a heartwarming Letts) is laid off and has been combating depression for a long time; her double-shift engaged nurse mother Marion's constant nitpicking just mirrors her own apprehension that she couldn't help her daughter to become the best version of herself in spite of the fact that she has maxed herself out. TV and stage veteran Laurie Metcalf is given a rare opportunity to shine on the bigger screen to epitomizes an ordinary mother's broader spectrum of parenting angst and she kills it, not just in that tear-jerking car-roving moment.
Time and again, Saoirse Ronan vanishingly conceals her ethnic traits and flawlessly transmogrifies herself as a flawed American teenager in this Bildungsroman, a fiery but sensitive, opinionated yet good-natured girl who only finds what home and family means when she finally flutters away on her own. Greta Gerwig's LADY BIRD is a rewarding, uplifting and funny passion project equipped with heart, brain and felicity, one simply hope these fantastic characters will be kept in Gerwig's next directorial outing, as we are compelled to wonder what will happen next to the extraordinary Lady Bird and her family.
But it's not just Ronan's performance that makes this the movie it is. It's the triangular relationship between her (a disillusioned small town girl from Sacramento who dreams of the creativity and urban rawness of East Coast New York) her driven, ambitious (for her daughter) and seemingly hard-hearted, unemotional mother (Laurie Metcalfe) and her long-suffering, delightful father (Tracy Letts).
How the three deal with one another and how those relationships play out are at the heart of a movie that touches the heart-strings many times.
Take a hankie.
It's not damning Greta Gerwig's directorial debut with faint praise by describing it as nice because it really is, in the finest tradition of the word, a truly nice cinematic experience. It has grit, humour and emotion, but the overwhelming take out is just how 'nice' it is.
The first act is hilarious in which 'Lady Bird', the given name (given to herself) of Christine, her best friend Julie and her first boyfriends enact small time life, love and prom-going.
The setting, in an all girls' Catholic High School, lends itself to much hilarity, with some excellently original rebellion. My favourite scene is where 'Lady Bird' and Julie scoff a tub of communion wafers whilst talking about sex. ("It's OK. They're not consecrated.")
Although the gradual sexual fulfilment that Lady Bird experiences is nothing new Ronan's performance keeps you interested, and when the consequences lead to confrontations and discussions between her and her parents - rarely acted out as a three hander because Mum and Dad lead separate (although still loving) lives - the movie reveals its depth.
It's the relationship between mother and daughter that is the real dramatic grit in thi particular oyster. Here Gerwig teases out brilliance by both actors and it's the result of this difficult 'ambitious-mom' tension that drives the movie.
As the film reaches its climax how that plays out is what results in the handkerchief moments and leaves you emotionally satisfied in a movie that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Overall : 8/10
There are lots of coming of age movies, and this is one of the few I've seen in recent times that really did seem to have something new and interesting to say and show. Maybe some of these related to 'first world problems' or perhaps more accurately 'poor people's problems when looking at rich people' but the complexity and reality I found in the issues raised and the way they were addressed did not detract.
There are many commentaries about relationships, social settings and societal change relevant to the 2002 setting in this film, which I recall clearly as our elder daughter was in the transition from primary to high school around that time.
At times, it isn't easy watching; at times it's really funny and mostly it's encouraging and uplifting. If you have been through that transition from high school to university, employment, or whatever came next for you, I think you'll find something that resonates in this fine film.
Set in 2002 in Sacramento, California, the story of Lady Bird follows a 17-year old high school senior who longs to attend college in a city that has culture. The plot covers her final year at high school where she participates in a theatre program, has a series of first-time experiences, and starts applying for out-of-state colleges in order to get away from her family & small town life.
Written & directed by Greta Gerwig, every aspect of Lady Bird screams her name right down to the bone. Every moment, every character, every interaction, every creative choice carries her signature. It's so tightly knitted with Gerwig's persona that the film defines her and she defines this film. And that gives it a uniqueness, an authenticity & an originality that's rarely found in a debut effort.
All the characters & their respective arcs exhibit sufficient depth & richness, their interaction carries a real vibe too, and their actions are just as relatable. The early 2000s setting is wonderfully recreated with era-specific fashion & musical trends and it captures that cusp of adulthood moment with finesse. Also present in high dosage is the quirkiness & effervescent wit that one associates with Greta Gerwig.
Despite all the coming-of-age elements, the core ingredient that drives Lady Bird from start to finish is the mother-daughter relationship and though we see them both arguing about the smallest of things, their underlying love is deeply felt at all times. Gerwig has created something that's personal, nostalgic & reminiscent of our own life and no matter how small or big, some part of it will strike a chord with almost every viewer.
Coming to the performances, Lady Bird packs a committed cast in Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Beanie Feldstein, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges & Timothee Chalamet, with Ronan & Metcalf impressing the most. Ronan brings a charm of her own to infuse life into a character that's tailor-made for Gerwig herself. Metcalf is even better and the mother-daughter chemistry between the two is electric. The rest of the cast is no slouch in their given roles and play their part responsibly.
On an overall scale, Lady Bird is a dream start to Greta Gerwig's directorial career and isn't just one of the best films of its year but is impressive enough to rank amongst the finest examples of its genre. A cinematic equivalent of joy that's as lively, friendly, cheerful, jubilant, gleeful, lighthearted, adventurous & vivacious as its creator, Lady Bird commences a new chapter in Greta Gerwig's life on the best possible note with a promise of greater things to come. Definitely worth a shot.
- Writer-director Greta Gerwig impresses with directorial debut
- Refreshingly original and unique
- Witty, funny script with enjoyable subplots and lots of laughs
- Great strong characters with career-best performances
- Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan are fantastic, individually and together
On the face of it, Lady Bird is nothing new; we've seen coming-of-age/self-discovery teen films countless times before. Sometime's they're great, sometimes they're god awful. Somehow though Lady Bird manages to buck this trend and stand out as being refreshingly original and not quite like your average coming-of-age/self-discovery teen film - especially impressive for a directorial debut!
It could be very easy for a story charting a year in the life of a narcissistic teenager to be annoying, childish or perhaps even patronising. Lady Bird is none of those, but rather as charming as its protagonist, mature and even understanding. While the main plot of the story is Lady Bird's determination to make it to East Coast colleges, there are so many subplots that emerge in her life that are a joy to be distracted by. We can all identify with these milestones, from first love to falling out with a friend, but these milestones are enjoyable to revisit with a character like Lady Bird and with such witty, quick writing that really captivates the voice of a frustrated teenager. Much of this is down to the excellent script by writer-director Greta Gerwig, in which strong characters are created and from which a plethora of funny, quotable lines come, making you question if it's more a drama or comedy. Gerwig also emphasises an interesting sense of nostalgia, setting the story in the recent past (2002). Not so far gone as to require frequent nods to the culture of the period, instead we feel as if we're transported back in time in a more subtle way, feeling younger just being able to see those beefy computer monitors.
The film certainly belongs to its star, but Ronan isn't the only decent cast member. The supporting cast is great, from boyfriends to best friends, each is different and not just a cliched depiction of teenage archetypes, but rather come across as genuine. The real stars of the show though are Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan, with the relationship between their characters being the real crux of the whole film. Metcalf is probably best known as Sheldon's ultra-religious Texan mother in The Big Bang Theory, but that's likely to be overshadowed now. Really showing us what she can do, she may still play a mother with a strong personality, but instead Lady Bird allows Metcalf to give a more nuanced, understated performance, making her a much more realistic, complicated character with whom audiences can instantly engage and form various opinions. Saoirse Ronan has been around for ages, first breaking through as Briony in Atonement way back in 2007 at just 13 years old. She's been in lots since, impressing time and again, particularly in Brooklyn. It's as Lady Bird though that we really see Ronan at her best. Were those lines to be spoken by someone else, Christine could be a thoroughly unlikable character and the film might not have worked. Instead, with Christine played by Ronan, she's well-developed, delightfully complex and consistently likeable, despite her penchant for being frequently narcissistic and frustrating. She's a teenage character we can't help but love and enjoy discovering who she is at the same time she does, sharing in both joy and heartbreak from stat to finish.
Sadly Lady Bird may not have won any Academy Awards, but it certainly deserved each of the five nominations. With a witty, funny script, Gerwig delivers on an impressive directorial debut with excellent performances from Metcalf and Ronan. A hilarious and touching coming-of-age film, ripe with nostalgia, laughs, self-discovery and great characters, Lady Bird flies high.
Although the story isn't new and a lot of films brought this subject to the big screen , this movie maybe the first one who brought it in a very new and attractive way : mixing dram with religious beliefs and covering both of them with comedy, which brings a unique outcome that u can't stop watching and learning from it. Saoirse Ronan who plays the leading role amazed me by her brilliant performance which was mixed of drama, comedy (she really was on fire almost in every scene). She gave us a totally different character than her previous two times Oscar nominations, which I both enjoyed but not like this one because it was really a magical one, and a lot of people will remember Saoirse Ronan in this movie like people still remembering Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's and Diane Keaton in Annie Hall. (Lady Bird) character will be an Iconic character in the movie history.
Laurie Metcalf who played the mother role which was for me also a leading role ( although they gave her a supporting nomination) was also amazing, she plays a mom with a strong character because she was forced to be like that, Lady Bird's father is the sweets guy of the house but sweetness isn't enough to built a house so, the mom had to take care of everything in order to save the house.
There were three essential scenes that both the mother and the daughter gave us an Oscar performance that no one should miss. In general both of the two leading characters have rights and wrongs, each one of them have her point of view and a lot of this come most of the time due to the gap between there generation, it's really the story of each one of us with his parents and eventually will be with his children.
Final rate :
8.5 out of 10
A fantastic coming-of-age story with so much realistic yet heartfelt moments. Wonderful acting from Saoirse Ronan who carries this movie beautifully with tremendous class. Excellent performance from Laurie Metcalf as well.
Extremely well-directed with seamless editing, grounded yet good-looking cinematography and fabulous execution of the dialogues, either by using long takes or by the above mentioned flawless editing.
Just a couple of issues. The story ends up falling into the genre predictability (save only one or two plot points), even though I need to heavily praise how unconventional and unique it is in approaching each typical situation. There are also some cliche characters who are purposefully stereotypical but a couple of them stretch the line a little bit.
And so, I thank both the academy and golden globes (Something I've always wanted to say) for forcing me to watch this movie due to its accolades because i wouldn't have otherwise.
I would definitely recommend this movie. Quietly funny, emotional and very relatable.
Diane and I viewed the film and emerged with similar thoughts as to its intentions. It is an obvious thought to report that the film was just a copy of male traverses through adolescence but set in a female perspective. The lead actor relates situations about maturation from a female perspective, but that is what distinguishes this film: it is a FEMALE perspective rather than the more typical male passage. I do not consider it detrimental that the script deals with similar occasions in the life of young adults.
I trust that the considerable talent behind this film will continue examining the difficulties of female adolescent passage through the minefield of maturation. I consider it a critical examination of both sexes and both generations.
Life goes on, it's messy, the cute guy you have a crush on is lying to you, no one loves you more than your mother, you may pretend to hate where you grew up but you know you will miss it when you move away, your best friend may not be the most popular person but DUDE THEY'RE YOUR BEST FRIEND, you don't have to like the music everyone else does, Greta Gerwig touches on it all, in just 93 minutes.
I've seen a lot of people complain about this film, but for me Lady Bird is the 2nd best film to come out in 2017, right after Call Me By Your Name. Oh and did I mention Laurie Metcalf and Saorsie Ronan? What beautiful talents!
Fantastic movie. Well done acting. Not to be missed.
It's a story of an artistically inclined girl calling herself Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) who doesn't know how to be a kid any more, and tries to search for purpose beyond the familiar confines on school, family, etc.
Also appearing, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Beanie Feldstein, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Jordan Rodrigues, Marielle Scott, Lois Smith, Stephen Henderson, Odeya Rush, making up a wonderful cast of characters among which I very much enjoyed spending some time with.
"Lady Bird" is not just authentic, sweet, funny, and well realised screen story about the pains of escaping the teenage-dom. It raises the bar for all movies about being young and trying to find yourself.
Your regular coming of age (growing up) movie is mostly about showing situations and events that lead to the character(s) realizing something about adult life. You know, partying, fooling around, heartbreaks and what have you.
"Lady Bird" reaches deeper and reminds how it exactly feels to be in that stage - if one has been able to escape this at all, of course.
I don't remember any other coming of age story so precisely mirroring this bleak no man's land of being able to realize that there's more to life than this but not really grasping the huge role of personal responsibility which comes with the adult life.
Including the notion that the change of scenery or any other external change doesn't equal to real change itself, because whereever we choose to go and whatever we do, we take our basic problems and perspectives along.
(It's exactly what I think the biblical story of Adam and Eve being forced to leave the paradise means, by the way. Or the story of Buddha, or Hero's Journey, if mentioning Bible would make you look at me funny or something.)
All this mirroring comes through the main character, of course, which makes her an intriguing character in herself, defying easy characterizations that would put her on the same level with most of the young persons searching themselves that we see in mainstream movies.
I am also very impressed by the creative style of the author Greta Gerwig, the writer-director of this joint. Many of the scenes are actually quite short but she has never failed to capture a lot of meaningful content in every snapshot that she offers about the characters' lives.
The dialogue, the acting, the atmosphere, the duration - everything is so sharp, precise, and to the point. I would say there's no filler material, like, at all. Everything is in its right place, carries enough meaning to justify being there and leaves its mark during watching. There's nothing that I would leave out. In this sense, I'd compare the result to good poetry. In a world full of 2+ hour movies which have only medium amount of meaningful content, we need more movies like this!
In addition to that, although the titular character is very much at the center of the story, Gerwig somehow has found enough empathy and ways to make everybody else on the screen live and breathe, too. They are not just figures to fill the scene and help make everything move along.
Everybody feels like their own person, no matter how little screen time or impact on the story s/he has. Many are used for comedic purposes, but this doesn't subtract from their intrinsic value.
For all this, I think that "Lady Bird" deserves the highest score available - because it's good and could not be better in any reasonable and meaningful way. Of course, nothing suits everybody, but the movie is perfect as it is. It felt so fresh that it made me feel as if this is the first coming of age movie I've ever seen.
As always with state of the mind movies - more interested in the psychological state of the mind the characters are in, than just events - you have to find some strong connection point to relate to, in order to fully enjoy the movie.
But if you manage to do that, you may be in for a real treat. If you don't, you will be bored because not much "happens". You know, the same way as "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Seinfeld" are shows about nothing.
The critics seem to agree, by the way: 99/100 and 94/100 from Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, respectively.
Based on what I heard eavesdropping the others leaving the cinema, I got a feeling that although "Lady Bird" is about the problems of growing up, it's much more suited to a bit more mature audience of movie lovers, who have already realized in their hearts that the burning question brought forth here - what's my purpose, anyway? - never really goes away.
I am not sure that teenager can truly appreciate how important this question will grow in time, and how much weight it can have on our personal secret lives.
All in all, "Lady Bird" is enjoyable and nuanceful movie, both able to lift you up with brightness that some are able to only compare with being young, and make you think about uncomfortable question that life brings if you are not able to just "belong to the herd".
In this regard, it has a lot in common with another of 2017's movie highlight, "Call Me by Your Name". Just replace the gay guys with straight girl and sunny 1980's Italy with economically shaky 2002's USA Sacramento.
I am proud to say that I've managed to see most of the key movies of this Oscar season by now, and the Oscar gala is still more than a week away. This fact has no real value at all, of course... but it's still nice.
"Lady Bird" is nominated for 5 Oscars: best picture, actress (Saoirse Ronan), supporting actress (Laurie Metcalf), director and original screenplay (both by Greta Gerwig).
Some claim that women in film industry should get more attention and praise. I don't give any filmmaker special attention just because s/he happens to be of fairer sex (or black, or Estonian, or member of LGBT community, or whatever). The work has to speak for itself.
"Lady Bird" is a great example of how "minority group" really deserves the awards and positive word-of-mouth - because it's jsut good enough. As opposed to grabbing attention for political reasons - here's looking at you, "Mudbound", nominated for 4 Oscars.
P.S. "Lady Bird" has already won Golden Globe awards for best actress (Ronan) and movie. It has 83 wins and 190 nominations altogether.