Director: Greta Gerwig
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Lois Smith
Run Time: 94 mins
Lady Bird, the directorial debut of actress / writer Greta Gerwig, is a beautifully humane coming-of-age story of a teenager whose strong personality conflicts with her mothers equally volatile temper. It makes for a fascinating character study, containing plenty of scenarios and vignettes that run true to many home experiences of growing up. Gerwig’s script is particularly polished, mostly avoiding cliche, which keeps the story fresh and makes for a deeply personal insight into the film’s setting of Sacramento, where Gerwig herself grew up.
The performances in the film further bring to life the excellent characters that have been crafted on the page. Saorise Ronan gives a career-best performance as the titular character, Christine ‘Lady Bird’ MacPherson, a teenager who is in her final year of high school and is applying for colleges and universities next year. Laurie Metcalf, as her psychologist mother, Marion, makes for a challenging and often, fiery counterpart but ultimately a mother who deeply cares about her daughter and just wants the best for her. Both actresses are fully deserving of all the Awards attention they have recieved.
Perhaps rather underappreciated is Tracy Letts as Christine’s father, who is facing his own personal demons. Letts is wonderfully subdued as a man who is struggling as he grows older, but he is so convincingly warm and admiring of his daughter and acts as the bridge between Christine and her mother. formances brilliant.
The film is not without flaws though and there are a handful of decisions that Gerwig takes in her narrative that felt a little off, but otherwise the film is excellent. It’s hard to stand up against similar films that have released recently, the minor-key realism of Manchester By The Sea perhaps the best result, but Lady Bird is a film fully deserving of its praise and is definitely an experience that will harken back to one’s adolescent memories. I would have happily spent another hour and a half with these characters as I was so invested in them and the thought of Gerwig recently announcing she wanted to tell other stories based from her experiences in Sacramento can surely be the sign of great things to come.