I’ve been a fan of Greta Gerwig’s work since the excellent Frances Ha, surprisingly already 6 years ago, and so it came as a shock that Lady Bird was her directorial debut, especially when you consider her talent. Having initially written the film, she decided to direct it and it’s for the benefit of all because Lady Bird is an exceptional piece of work.
Gerwig’s semi-autobiographical script is full of the fire that surrounds you when you’re going through your teenage years and all the personal drama that comes your way. In truth, I pretty much fell for this film within the first twenty minutes with its skilfully scripted lines and natural persona of the ensemble cast led by Saoirse Ronan, who excels throughout and has fast become one of my favourite actors in the industry.
As a little background, Lady Bird is centred on Ronan’s character Christine, who calls herself Lady Bird, instead of her given name, as she tries to find her way and identity as a young adult. The overall complexation of the film revolves around Lady Bird’s relationship with her mother Marion, played wonderfully honest and heartfelt by Laurie Metcalf, alongside a more subtle siding with her Father Larry, portrayed by Tracy Letts. That turbulence is something we’ve all felt growing up and whilst I cannot recognise the Mother/Daughter relationship at its core, Gerwig’s film enabled me to dive into the world I’ve heard so much about from others.
You’ve probably seen the phrase ‘coming of age’ bandied about and that’s appropriate but it’s also deeper than that and moments of my younger life were reflected in what I was watched on-screen. I think most of us can appreciate the desires to run away or escape your home town when you hit a certain age. I know I wanted to, and I know that I had to get away to find who I wanted to be.
What’s particularly poignant about Lady Bird is that pure understanding of the fight against the despondency within but as you get older, hometowns and old places do offer a different viewpoint to you. The only way you wouldn’t understand this would be if you’ve never tried to get out, much like Timothee Chalamet’s Kyle or Odeya Rush’s Jenna, two characters happy drifting in and out of the world they’re in, without the need for true rebellion.
One of my favourite things about Lady Bird is how it avoids nostalgia as well, this isn’t a film that concentrates on the memory of something, and it enables the thought and reminds you to love what’s around you later on in life instead. I feel that’s a purposeful move because those things you go through as a teenager make a mark on who you become as an adult. As Lady Bird herself says “I guess I pay attention” and that’s the essence of everything good here.
Lady Bird is beautifully shot and edited, I felt every moment of its sharp script and top class cast that also include Lucas Hedges bringing it again – he’s another to keep an eye on – as the film offers up comments on friendship (a wonderful circle of a story with her best friend Julie, played by the excellent Beanie Feldstein is included), love choices, drinking alcohol, family grievances and all those relationships entwined as Gerwig gives us one of the best, most original teen comedy-dramas in years, I hugely recommended it to anyone with a heart.
Lady Bird is out now on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD
Watch the clip below and order now https://amzn.to/2KFUXUT