Casting director: “What’s your name?”
Christine: “Lady Bird.”
Casting director: “Is that your given name?”
Christine: “Yes. It was given to me by me.”
The above exchange is the perfect summation of coming-of-age film written and directed by Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird.
The film follows a teenager, Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), in her quest to grow into herself, while navigating the pressures of school, making decisions about her future, sexuality and dating, friction with her mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf) and friendship, while attempting to make peace with her sense of herself, and her body image.
It’s the kind of movie that I wish-15 year-old me had seen, one that would have let me see that I did not exist in a vacuum and that everything I was thinking and and felt was normal. Except, I don’t think my ignorant self would have wanted to sit and listen.
This is the beauty with this film - Ronan’s performance is endearing and extremely realistic.
You feel like you’re with her and her best friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein), and you experience all these raw emotions with them as they do. Metcalf’s portrayal of Lady Bird’s mother is also the perfect embodiment of the tense relationships that exist between teenagers and their mothers, often over things that aren’t important enough to cause a rift.
Side note: I read somewhere that director Greta Gerwig’s mother Christine was an “ob/gyn” nurse, from Sacramento and attended an all-girls Catholic school.
She also described herself as having been an intense child, which are all elements that Lady Bird has. I wondered, after coming into contact with this information, just how much of the film was based on her life, if any?
It is written wittily, offering killer lines when you least expect it to.
The intensity that Ronan lends to Lady Bird, the character, is also quite believable. But along the way the film also teaches, in a not-so-preachy way to appreciate the small stuff. To stop and see the beauty of the “midwest of California” as Lady Bird describes her town, and the “nagging” of the parents.
The film handles the theme of sexuality beautifully. Lady Bird falls in love with Danny (Lucas Hedges) who turns out to be gay in the end.
Of course, when she finds out, it’s by witnessing Danny passionately kissing another boy.
But what happens after they have several moments of awkwardness with one another is that they finally talk, and Lady Bird becomes an ally to Danny.
In a world where LGBTI+ communities and people have to fight for their right to exist, the movie approaches Danny’s position with a gentle touch that is deserved by every young person who is trying to navigate their way through their sexuality.
By the time the film wraps up, you’ll be filled with a lot of emotion, ranging from nostalgia to relief.
Lady Bird is relatable, honest, doesn’t take itself seriously and features some charming shots of Sacramento, California where the film was made.