Telluride 2017 Lady Bird Review
Lady Bird is the first film written and directed by Greta Gerwig and had its World Premiere at Telluride 2017. Lady Bird tells the story of a young girl Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) in her last year of high school in her hometown of Sacramento. She lives in an average middle-class home with her family but attends a private school filled with rich kids. Apart from her best friend, Julie (Beanie Feldstein), she seems to be the only non-rich student at the all girls Catholic school.
Lady Bird is somewhat of an offbeat young lady who cannot wait to leave her hometown and head away to college, hopefully in New York City. The film opens with Lady Bird and her mother (Laurie Metcalf) on their drive home from a college trip, and their complicated relationship is quickly established in this scene. The humor at this moment sets the tone perfectly for the entire film. As she finishes her senior year, we get a truly authentic coming of age tale filled with love, loss, and personal growth.
Honestly, Lady Bird is a wonderful story with authentic characters. Lady Bird’s mother, Marion, played by Lori Metcalf is fantastic. The relationship between Lady Bird and her mother is relatable, funny, laughable, and sometimes a little bit painful. Greta Gerwig nails the complicated nature of a relationship between a mother and a daughter. There is a scene where Lady Bird is shopping for her prom dress with her mother, and she asks her mother “do you like me?” To which her mother replies, “I love you,” and Lady Bird replies “but do you like me? I wish you liked me.” This moment, however small, brought me to tears. I think that every girl at one point in their lives have felt that their mother doesn’t like them. Saoirse Ronan is perfect fantastic as Lady Bird. She has the quirky nature and emotional depth of the character down perfectly.
The writing in Lady Bird is spectacular. It balances out moments of real emotion with humor that is both witty and bold. The film quickly establishes Greta Gerwig’s sense of humor in the first few minutes and doesn’t disappoint. In one scene she’s talking to her friend Julie about moving to New York, and Julie asks “aren’t you afraid of terrorists?” Lady Bird replies with a quick “don’t be a Republican.”
Balancing out the moments of humor and wit are special moments where she’s talking to her father or being a shoulder to cry on for a friend. Lady Bird completely nails the awkward nature of growing up. From Julie’s inelegant crush on her high school math teacher to Lady Bird talking about and then freaking out about sex, everything feels authentic. Lady Bird’s desire to leave Sacramento is one that most people feel about their hometowns. Leaving home for the first time is frightening but reminds you of what you love about it as well.
The world which Greta Gerwig has created is realistic with relatable characters. Several moments during the film, I found myself fighting back the tears. Greta Gerwig succeeds in every way with Lady Bird and I can’t wait to see what she does next. The story speckled with humor and emotionally charged moments is the perfect coming of age story for the everyday woman. Reminding ourselves of our desire to leave but always remembering from where we came.
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