Director: Greta Gerwig
Running Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
In the run up to the Oscars, there was a lot of hype around one film- Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Lady Bird. Gerwig is the first female nominated for the Directing Oscar in a long time, and with this cast of fiercely strong female characters, Lady Bird hit our screens with impeccable timing, considering the current feminist climate, and the peak of the #TimesUp movement.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a big Saoirse Ronan fan. One of the best young actresses in Hollywood right now, every film she performs in brings audiences a new character, a new story and a new accent. Lady Bird is no different. As the titular character, Ronan transforms into a teenaged Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson living in Sacramento, California and dreaming of making her escape come graduation.
She struggles to maintain a relationship with her Mother, Marion McPherson- who just wants the best for her daughter, despite their strong personalities clashing in basically every scene.
Lady Bird wants to get into a college far away from Sacramento- preferably in New York. Her best friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein) has resigned herself to the fact she will go to city college and stay in their hometown forever. Even when Lady Bird befriends the coolest girl in school, Jenna (Odeya Rush), she tells her that she wants to stay in Sacramento forever, and send her daughters to the same Catholic school the girls currently attend.
The problem for Lady Bird is that she doesn’t quite know what she wants, or how she wants to get there. She has minor delusions of grandeur- she is outraged when she is not cast as the star in the school play- even telling Julie that she didn’t deserve it. She tells her guidance counsellor she wants to get into schools like Yale- despite not having the grades to get even close. She comes across self absorbed and shallow, but really she is just misunderstood, trying to navigate her way through the minefields of high school and teenage life.
One thing Lady Bird is interested in is love. She falls head over heels for Danny (Lucas Hedges), whom she meets in drama club. Danny can sing, dance, act and treats Lady Bird like a princess. He lives in the rich part of town, and seems like her perfect match.
This being a movie, he of course, isn’t. After her first love with Danny, Lady Bird becomes enthralled with the cooler than cool Kyle (Timothée Chalamet), who reads philosophy at coffee shops, plays in a band and doesn’t believe in the concept of money.
Kyle gives Lady Bird a completely different experience of love than Danny does, and she realises that that isn’t what she wants either. All of this builds up to the classic climax of any teen romance- prom night. (No more spoilers- you’ll have to watch to find out what happens next)
In short, Lady Bird is a coming of age film that you’ve seen one hundred times before. Christine battles through high school cliques, college applications and first love (and second love) during the one and a half hours screen time.
What makes this film different? Greta Gerwig based this movie on her own experiences as a teenager, and you can tell. The whole film feels more genuine than any coming of age movie I’ve seen before. There is truth in each scene, in each performance. Lady Bird finally gives the everyman a coming of age film you can relate to.