A short and bittersweet drama on the turbulent adolescent time leading up to college.
Director: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothee Chalamet
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Lady Bird is a film that achieves a lot in its minimal 90 minutes running time. The story follows a seventeen-year-old high school senior, Christine McPherson (who calls herself as ‘Lady Bird’), as she navigates through her life and handles her relationships with her friends and family in the year leading up to college. The film is set in Sacramento, in 2002, and this setting does play a significant role in the film’s narrative.
The movie starts off with an engaging and funny conversation (which is more of an argument) between ‘Lady Bird’ and her mother (played by Laurie Metcalf) about ‘Lady Bird’s’ potential life after high school. It is clear from the start that this mother-daughter relationship is going to be a key dynamic of the film.
Saoirse Ronan’s performance as ‘Lady Bird’ is what adds life to the film. Her character is a frustrated and rebellious teenage girl who feels trapped in her Catholic High School and in Sacramento. She doesn’t shy away from acting on her impulses and she is still on the path to figuring out who she really is. ‘Lady Bird’ wants to get out of Sacramento and go to New York for college which is in conflict with her mother. Saoirse Ronan is able to add a great amount of charm to this character, although her character does come off as selfish and ignorant at times.
There is hardly any extraneous scene in the movie and it is generally fast-paced. The way it is able to juxtapose emotional and comedic moments is truly remarkable. Saoirse Ronan’s and Laurie Metcalf’s performances are the stand out ones. The bond that their characters share is truly special. It is a relationship that looks strained on the surface but deep down is full of love and attention (probably too much of it).
Deciding which college to go to is just the surface of the movie. There is a lot more to it than that. ‘Lady Bird’ is a coming-of-drama that avoids many clichés and the result is a practical experience that many will be able to resonate with. It is a drama that takes a comedic yet heartfelt look at the uncertainty and confusion of the later teenage years. ‘Lady Bird’ is certainly an impressive directorial debut by Greta Gerwig.
FINAL RATING: 4/5