Director: Greta Gerwig
Run Time: 1h 34m
I’m sure anyone who attended Catholic school in Sacramento, CA would appreciate Lady Bird. Unfortunately, the film catered too much to this narrow niche of an audience. I attended public school in Central Florida. A bit different, apparently.
Like all teenagers, Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) is misunderstood and suffocated by those around her. Her mother (Laurie Metcalf) is the worst offender, always nagging and judging everything Lady Bird does. Only her best friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein) truly knows her. But even Julie begins to feel like a cage in the corner when Lady Bird discovers she wants more than what Sacramento has to offer. She has her sights set elsewhere — like New York — no matter the cost. And if she ruffles a few feathers and makes nice with the popular kids in the process, that’s just a perk. Right?
I’m beginning to wonder if only John Hughes has the secret to making great high school films.
For anyone who was not aware: I HATED high school. I didn’t have a name, only “Smart Girl” which is not as endearing as “Lady Bird” — nor did I choose it myself. I attended two dances — both horrendous experiences I wish I could reverse. And the last week of my Junior year, I ate lunch in the girls’ bathroom of the administration building because my senior friend finished early and it was the only place people didn’t smoke or stare. Such fond memories…
I think this is why I get so frustrated when I see teenagers in films who don’t have it that bad and insist their lives are ruined by first world problems. The family is poor, the house is too small, the clothes are too worn, the food is too bland. Life could be so much worse and yet everything is a big deal to these girls. Lady Bird was the same way. Her family was poor, and their house was small. But she went from knowing who she was and what she wanted, to deciding none of that was good enough. She started lying and ditching her loved ones to experience life outside of what she was used to. I didn’t understand how someone so confident with themselves that they insisted to be called by a self-given nickname, turned into such an insecure snot. It didn’t feel right.
Even though I don’t understand all the Oscar buzz this film is getting as a whole — it won Best Drama at the Golden Globes by the way — I do understand the praise for Ronan. She is amazing in everything she does but she does play the snarky, sarcastic, selectively b*tchy Lady Bird wonderfully. The chemistry she has with her onscreen mother is outstanding as well because Metcalf resembles a lot of mothers I knew in growing up. As overstated as some of the tension was, I really enjoyed their scenes together.
Which brings me to my next accolade: mother-daughter relationships. If nothing else, Lady Bird made me reminisce and contemplate my relationship with my own mother. I can’t tell you how many times I have apologized to my Mom for even being a child. (And again, Mom…I’m so sorry!) In high school I was probably at my peak b*tch too. I had a comeback for everything, but not in a cute way. I just genuinely enjoyed making her life miserable because I swore she was doing the same. But alas, that was not the case. Figures. My mom and I were always close and still are, but we indeed had our strained moments. So in that sense, I think Lady Bird portrayed a typical interaction between mother and daughter. Snuggling one moment, jumping out of cars the next. Even if the rest of Lady Bird’s problems were self-inflicted, her and her mom always felt genuine. (P.S. Love you, Mom!)
Other than that, some of the comedy was spot on. But mostly Lady Bird is just a bunch of pretentious white people problems that get really boring really quick. It feels a lot longer than 94 minutes. And even though I appreciated what it was attempting to do, I don’t have any desire to live through it again. Heh…kind of like high school!
Skippable. Rentable. You decide.
For some strained mother-daughter tension, I’ve always been a fan of Mermaids.
For a better coming-of-age movie in the midst of real problems, I love Juno.