Film Review – Lady Bird (2017)
With Thanksgiving over and done, the focus of many individuals turns to the Christmas season…and the frontrunners for Best Picture in the 2018 Oscar race! A24 is no stranger to this time of year after winning for Moonlight last year, and now they appear to have another film that should contend for some shiny, gold trophies in Lady Bird. The following review will be spoiler free.
Directed By: Greta Gerwig
Written By: Greta Gerwig
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, and Timothee Chalamet
Christine, or “Lady Bird” (Ronan) as she likes to call herself, is entering her senior year of high school in the suburbs of Sacramento, California, a city that she cannot wait to leave. As she begins to plan her life after high school by applying to colleges, Lady Bird continues to struggle in her relationship with her mother (Metcalf). Continuing to explore new experiences and people, Lady Bird learns about her identity, relationships, and life.
Despite the film being Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut, it appears that she already has a strong grasp on what it takes to perform admirably. Using what she learned from fellow director Noah Baumbach, she banned smartphones on set, trying to make each setting feel more like 2002, the year in which the film takes place. She was also incredibly planned and concise, arriving to set an hour before everyone else so that she could put the entire cast and crew at ease in preparation for filming.
Lady Bird is yet another example of A24 getting it right. Early in there existence as a production studio, they continue to produce stellar (or at the very least fascinating) films and only partner with other studios when it is within their best interests, such as this year’s The Disaster Artist. They work with a lot of passionate artists, no matter their experience level. Rather, they surround themselves with intelligent people and business partners to continue to grow the company at a smart pace.
With another crop of great films in 2017, A24 shows no signs of stopping soon.
Beautiful Performances All-Around
Any smaller film with limited spectacle needs stand-out performances in lead roles to become outstanding. Luckily, Lady Bird has both Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. These two combine for an engrossing pair. Their relationship together is far from perfect. It’s guarded, hostile, and even confrontational. But, there’s always an inkling of love and care.
Saoirse Ronan is perfect in the lead role. Other than dying her hair for the part, she even refrained from wearing makeup so that her acne was visible, allowing her to better portray an immature high-schooler. Not only is she hilarious, but she becomes this awkward teenager that’s just trying to make sense of it all. She isn’t the typical outsider that coming of age stories usually depict. Ronan is strong yet vulnerable. However, she doesn’t rebel against society just for the hell of it. Lady Bird is curious, looking for her best path.
Her mother, on the other hand, is proud and strong-willed. She wants the best for her entire family, even if it means accosting them for the smallest details. She doesn’t quite know how to express her feelings to her children, making for some complicated relationships that feel incredibly human.
I forsee many nominations in the future for both women.
Subtle Writing Helps Lady Bird Execute its Relatable Themes
The incredible performances continue behind the camera as Greta Gerwig is an absolute star. Lady Bird may be one of the best written movies of recent years, blending great comedy with deeply affecting dialogue and thematical elements. Every arc comes together so beautifully. Each character has their little story that leads to satisfying conclusion in the end. However, Lady Bird‘s most impressive feat is how authentic each portion feels. Every young adult or young professional will find something truly divine in this Sacramento-based drama.
Greta Gerwig manages to create a film that is as entertaining on the surface as it is beneath it. Lady Bird is endearing, but it’s also one of the more thoughtful movies of 2017. Everything about Lady Bird is unbelievably realistic. You’ll cut into the middle of conversations between characters hoping for an amazing, grandiose gesture from one of the characters. But, you’ll leave the scene with something a bit more intelligent that still manages to earn your attention.
At the film’s conclusion, Lady Bird has dual feeling of utter satisfaction but an equal amount of yearning for more. Gerwig has created characters that are so fully realized in such a short period of time that you would love to see more from them. Not a moment is wasted in Lady Bird.
Lady Bird Earns its Emotion, Becoming Much More Than a Typical Coming of Age Tale
Gerwig’s script will tug on your heartstrings, but in the best way possible. Lady Bird contains the rare instance where both the symbolism and the overt character actions are rooted in deep, earnest emotion. You spend a lifetime with these characters and learn of all their fears and hopes. When important events occur, you really feel it.
Lady Bird skirts passed the usual coming of age tropes. There are elements of usual coming of age films within the story, but they aren’t the focus of the film as a whole. The movie focuses more on internal growth of each character, providing deeply moving moments of drama that are the furthest describer away from manipulative.
Saoirse Ronan is at the center of the emotion. She powers Lady Bird to one of the most satisfying movie experiences of 2017.
Greta Gerwig has proved herself as a tour de force in Hollywood with her solo directorial debut. Lady Bird is a labor of love, and it comes through with every line of dialogue. Powered with great performances from Saoirse Ronan and Laura Metcalf, this film is one that stands among the better coming of age tales of recent memory. For its efforts, it gets an A+. If you don’t know Saoirse Ronan, get to know her! She’s going to compete for a few Oscars before her career is over.
Even if this movie isn’t your cup of tea, it will undoubtedly get nominated for a few Oscars, making its viewing even more worthwhile.
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