Lady Bird (2017)
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Overall : 8/10
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.
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.
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.
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.
Although I do like this film I don't quite love it like most people do and all the enormous praise it has received over the past few months as lead to being considered one of if not the best film of the year. For me it's not quite up there although it was very pleasant and entertaining to watch. There is a great sense of place present in the movie and it's clear that Gerwig and her title character really do actually love Sacramento as the latter begins to realize when speaking with a nun (Lois Smith) at her school towards the end of the film.
The movie has a great ensemble cast including Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet who all give decent turns as their respective vital characters. However, it really is carried by Ronan and Metcalf and the best moments are when they are sharing scenes together. It is crazy to think that Ronan who is good in literally everything is on her third Oscar nomination with this film. But then again considering the talent she has maybe it's not crazy at all but expected. So all in all, 'Lady Bird' is a sweet, heartwarming coming-of-age tale that pulls you in with its intriguing script and keeps you their with its magnetic performances.
Lady Bird is directed and written by Greta Gerwig and stars Saorise Ronan as the titular character, Lady Bird. Lady Bird is a coming of age tale of a teenager preparing to enter college. Along the way, Lady Bird and her family encounter problems of their own.
Lady Bird is expertly written. Each of the characters feels distinct and has their own motivations and personalities. The writing and dialogue is the greatest positive the movie has to offer. Greta Gerwig has outdone herself by capturing her hometown feelings of Sacramento into the script. The story's heart and soul are in two characters, Lady Bird and her mother. The movie starts with these two discussing colleges. It is here that Lady Bird makes it clear what her intentions are. She dreams of leaving her past behind and going to college on the East coast. However, her mother does not agree with the plan as she sees Lady Bird as being selfish. The family had undergone financial crisis with much of the parental backstory being told through dialogue. The movie pulls at heart strings of bad teenage mistakes, family troubles, and parental failings. It is the ability to merge through the writing that elevates each of these individual tropes into a solid package.
I did find the movie a little blandly directed but that does not detract from the overall experience. I highly recommend Lady Bird.
The best thing about Catholic school is that it accepts pregnant virgins as students.
However, it'll be awhile before the pupil in this dramedy even gets a miraculous kiss.
Quirky Catholic high school senior Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) struggles to find her place amongst her straight-laced peers as she waits to live out her Ivy League College fantasy far away from her overbearing mother (Laurie Metcalf). It's not until she joins the school play that she finds her calling, and her new boyfriend.
But her affluent new friends begin to affect how Ladybird perceives her status, her family and her old friends.
Although it comes with all the angst, awkwardness and senseless rebellion you'd expect, it's the hilarious and touching mother-daughter dynamic that elevates writer/director Greta Gerwig's vision, and sets it apart from your standard coming-of-age account.
Moreover, teenage girls hate their mothers up until they need them to babysit. Green Light
These things, and a million of other ones, are what an almost grown up human being's life is about. Well, maybe not everywhere and not for everyone, but most of us could surely relate to what Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson goes through. What Saoirse Ronan did to her character is no small feat. With her porcelain doll beauty and those pale blue eyes, she goes out of her typical closed and emotionally restrained character and becomes someone who yells and screams and laughs and cries and breaks things on screen, making Lady Bird so intense that it's unbearable at some points.
Making the character of Lady Bird so intense and hard to handle is probably both the film's best feature and its most serious flaw. In all the multitude of coming-of-age movies, the kid characters are mostly childish and they do dumb things often - but then some uncanny wisdom comes upon them and they grow up in our eyes and suddenly become reasonable and - let's be honest about this - tolerable at last. Lady Bird takes a slightly different road of dropping that sugarcoating and leaving Christine what she is - conflicted, hysterical, inconsistent and, damn, annoying! Just like the character of Christine's mother struggles to write her a letter and to choose words that would both be kind and ring true, so does the audience have a hard time accepting Lady Bird's edgy self. I certainly found it hard to do.
It's curious why we people love the coming-of-age stories. The kids watch them to see that someone does understand and does care about who they are, to see someone else who'd tell them that they are not alone. And we adults watch them to seek hope that those chaotic and erratic creatures we once gave birth to are indeed our kin and that sometime soon you'd get on the same page and would be able to actually talk to each other like responsible people.
In terms of promising the older generations a magical realm in which their progeny will be delivered to their hands all mature and stuff, Lady Bird isn't too reassuring. Nor does it promise us that kids secretly understand everything and it's just a lack of communication - because it's just not true. But there's one thing about this story that redeems all the facepalm moments you experience watching those kids do their kid stuff. That, just like the kids are not alone in their struggle, so aren't their parents. So there's no reason to blame the world on yourself and drown yourself in guilt and anger begotten by it - 'cause you're no more guilty than the other guy.
So, if you have a bird you love - just set it free, and if it loves you back, it will return some day and somehow.