I’m having a hard time knowing where to start with Lady Bird, and I think thats because of how pure it feels. Natural, honest, funny, endearing yet ambitious, Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird is a beautiful directorial debut that examines a relatable coming of age tale while remaining fresh and reminding us how important diversity behind the camera is.
Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson is a headstrong high school senior who fights with her family, tries to fit in at school, and goes through a few different stereotypical teenage boyfriends that unfortunately as a private school graduate I am all too familiar with. The actual plot is pretty bare, which gives the small moments space to breathe and grounds everything in reality. There is no big twist or overhanging conflict, just a bunch of micro-struggles. As Lady Bird says at one point, “Different things can be sad it’s not just war.”
I would love to call out a million of my favorite scenes, but I will start with the scenes with Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. When Lady Bird throws herself out of a moving car instead of talking to her mother about her future. When they are yelling at each other in goodwill and then immediately agreeing on a dress. Mother daughter relationships are rarely done this well on screen, it is a hard line to walk. Gerwig manages to portray a mother who is flawed and a daughter who is stubborn without falling into cheesy “make up” tropes. It feels tense and complicated and real.
Moving out of the family dynamic to Lady Bird’s high school experience, I couldn’t believe how many memories this dug up. I am not from Sacramento, but it seems like teenage girls deal with the same shit everywhere. Obviously I loved her complications with the two male love interests. Lucas Hedges delivers one of the most powerful scenes in the movie when he breaks down on her shoulder in the alley behind a coffee shop. And honestly Timothee Chalamet reminded me of so many terrible 17 year old guys I knew, I had PTSD flashbacks when he talked about bartering or his 2 year vow of honesty.
I’m going to throw a Spoiler Alert tag here, spoilers ahead!
I think the most overlooked relationship in the movie is between Christine and her female friends. There is a scene where she lies about where she lived to seem cool, and when the truth came out, the “popular girl” asked why should would lie about that. And essentially, Lady Bird doesn’t have an answer. To seem richer, because she liked the other house more than her own, but also just because. The female friendships culminate in Lady Bird yelling about how she likes Dave Matthews and ditching the prom to hang out with her best friend, all while I smiled and cried in the theater for seemingly no reason.
This is getting long winded so I am going to wrap this movie up with how it ends. I was anticipating a big heartfelt goodbye between her and her mother which would put all of their issues behind them so that she could go to college with a clean slate. Instead, we get a frosty goodbye, and on her first night in New York, Christine drinks too much, vomits on a boys shoes, and wakes up in the hospital. I loved that we got to see her move onto the next step, it showed some perspective that Christine needed before she calls her mom to apologize. Okay I am going to cut myself off, because clearly, I loved this movie, and I could maybe go on forever. 10/10