16th February 2018 (UK)
In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.
Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts
Christine “Lady Bird” MacPherson (Saoirse Ronan) lives in Sacramento, California on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ in 2002. Lady Bird follows her through her final year of high school and the tribulations that come with it – including her first love and the stresses of college applications.
Ronan’s “Lady Bird” is simultaneously an accurate representation of countless rebelling teens and an utterly unique creation. Her wants and needs are borderline stereotype for girls her age, but writer/director Greta Gerwig’s script is so well observed that Christine never becomes a cliche. In reality, she’s a delicate, scared girl who is in desperate need of care and (more importantly) attention from her mother – although it’s something she’d never admit. Laurie Metcalf plays Marion, the aforementioned mother and impeccably channels the struggles of raising a child who thinks they know the world without ever stepping foot in it. Their back and forth relationship is effortlessly natural and I’m sure many can relate to the kind of dynamic they have. Timothée Chalamet (who can be seen in the critics favourite Call Me By Your Name) exhudes coolness as Kyle, one of Lady Bird’s love interests while Lucas Hedges impresses as her very first love. His character arc is the films most touching and Hedges gives it the compassion it deserves.
The film moves at a furiously fast pace, with no real direction on where it’s going: much like the titular character. It is a collection of teenager ‘life moments’, most of which have been used countless times before in similar coming of age stories, but all feel more authentic than usual thanks to excellent performances from all involved.
What I found strange with Lady Bird though is that apart from the peformances, I didn’t feel there was much more to take away from the film. It didn’t leave a lasting impression and there aren’t particularly many talking points of what occurs for when it’s over. I’m not, or never have been, a teenage girl living in the USA though so on a personal level I couldn’t connect. I did, however, enjoy seeing her learn from mistakes and the relationship between her and her parents is always entertaining.
Nevertheless, Lady Bird is a decidedly confident directoral debut from Greta Gerwig with exceptional performances throughout. In regards to the Academy Awards nominees it’s up against for Best Picture, it’s an upbeat welcome change of pace and tone from the usual serious fare.
Ronan and Metcalf are wonderful
Situations, while well worn, feel authentic
Ultimately forgettable with no real talking points for when it's over