Lady Bird is a coming of age drama to pull at the old heartstrings.
Lady Bird is essentially a movie about growing up, which as we all know is hard to do. While many movies like to reflect on the good times we all supposedly had in high school, but I doubt many of us have those happy memories of killer parties and endless practical jokes. Instead, many of us look back and remember high school as the epitome of awkwardness. None of us really had any idea what was going on, luckily director Greta Gerwig seems to know what was up.
To be perfectly blunt, there’s a lot going on in Lady Bird, but nothing really happens. Saoirse Ronan stars as a high school senior trying to figure out where she’s going in life before her final year is out. This turns out to be a task much greater than she ever could have imagined, not surprising considering that so many of us are still working on that same thing years later. The journey though feels universal as she tries her best to find her path while dealing with family, college applications, friends, and love. All the things that make these kinds of movies worth watching.
The real strength of Lady Bird lies primarily in the dialogue between characters. The story itself is a bit odd because it doesn’t necessarily feel like there is much of a story or act structure in place. Instead, Lady Bird seems to meander from one place to the other. Despite this abstract story structure though, Lady Bird progresses naturally managing to keep the audience engaged through sheer empathy for its characters. After All, the turmoil that Lady Bird goes through in the film touches on so much, that it would be impossible for it not to touch someone on some level. For that, I have to salute Gerwig, because it’s not easy to pull that off without making a movie seem bogged down or cluttered.
I feel like it’s necessary to address the elephant in the room when it comes to Lady Bird. Recently it was revealed that the film was the highest rated movie in Rotten Tomatoes history, which is a tremendous feat in and of itself. However, I can’t wholeheartedly say that it deserves that honor. Sure, Lady Bird is one hell of a movie, but I don’t think it’s the best anything of all time. It’s a solid film that manages to create a powerful bond with its audience, but I don’t think it’s one that will live up to the expectations it’s reputation has created.
I have to give a shout out to Laurie Metcalf for her performance in the film. In it, she plays Lady Bird’s mother whose sole purpose seems to be slowly chipping away at her daughter with passive-aggressive criticism. It’s easy to tell her heart might be in the right place, but clearly, her mouth is not. It’s absolutely mindblowing watching this dynamic unfold as the two desperately push each other apart, but want nothing more than to have the approval of the other. It becomes almost painful watching this mother and daughter duo continue on this senseless spiral of self-destruction by turning on each other. Still, that is what families do.
Lady Bird is an exceptional film. One that I’m sure many adults and teens will be sure to see bits of themselves in. Though it might not be as miraculous a movie as its reputation might lead it to be, that doesn’t mean that it’s not one worth seeing and one that I’m sure audiences will enjoy. The real question is if it will live up to its own hype once award season starts up. If it does, then I suppose it was a film that knew exactly what it was, unlike its hero.