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a touching throwback to the adolescent years
Special-K8811 March 2018
In the year 2002, Catholic high school senior Christine McPherson, self-named 'Lady Bird,' is an impetuous girl literally from the wrong side of the tracks who is at a critical stage in her life: she's continually at odds with her mother, she despises her mundane life in Sacramento, and she wants to go to college on the east coast in a city with culture. Her ordinary life suddenly takes a turn when she has to deal with popularity, discovering boys and romance, and coping with the problems of people other than her own. Cute, quirky, and thoughtful coming-of-age story is one everyone can relate to, with the all-important themes of teen angst, adolescence, and ambition; colorful dialogue, well-drawn characters, and believable situations are only elevated by a talented cast of actors. Twenty-three-year-old Ronan perfectly embodies the spirit of a self-absorbed teenager in all her complexities, making it easy for viewers to recall a similar time period in their lives. ***
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What All Movies Should Strive For- Brilliance
daveakarng21 March 2018
With such a vague description, I didn't know what to expect when watching Lady Bird. I had seen that it was nominated for some Oscars, so figured it must be good. It isn't good, it's fantastic.

Not everyone will enjoy this film as it's just not for everyone. Where Lady Bird stands out and why I believe it warrants 10 stars is that it mentally transports you to Lady Bird's world. You forget you're watching a movie because everything is done so well. I found myself feeling as though I was in the same room with the characters in this movie.

This is why we watch movies- to mentally go outside of our living rooms. Lady Bird achieves this. Best movie I've seen in a while.
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barry-smith314 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I wish I could agree with the high-scoring reviews, but I cannot. This movie seemed flat, monotone, mildly entertaining. The lead was perfunctory...another disgruntled teen who desperately wants to get out of her home town and fly to the East Coast "where there is culture". New Hampshire and culture? Hmmm... Lady Bird clashes with her mom (Laurie Metcalf...who deserves 10 stars by herself). So, a teen clashes with her flash. Dad loses his job...and seems to be just fine with that, even though they are running out of money. Weird. The supporting cast seems to be chosen to complete a requisite menu of characters: the overweight but beautiful-inside best friend, the gorgeous and wealthy but shallow new friend, the handsome boy. Somehow this lack of originality does not drive a strong story line. The crash and burn ending is, well, the only twist in this, back home she goes, and realizes she really does love Sacramento. Perhaps Sacramento is a metaphor for almost every town in America, but the story never hints at that. So, sorry, this one just did not resonate with me.
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Sacremento could be anywhere
billymeachen27 February 2018
The mother and daughter dynamic in this film is something I related to deeply in the context to the relationship I have with my father, this may have lead to me being a little bias in the affect the film goes for. Regardless, I must say, this is the best coming of age film I have seen in a long time. It has both as humbling scenes as it does tear shedding ones and throughout many of the situations and themes highlighted create this idea of being content with what you're given in life. You could argue that this is the "rich-people's problems" of melodramas, however, I would argue that as someone living in a border-line middle class family, that this reflects many people out there. The film highlights themes of, being outdated and replaced as well as, coming to terms with growing and accepting those who care for you. The one major detractor I would say the film has is a sub-plot whereby Lady-Bird tries to be part of the 'cool kid' group and has it come to spite her in the end. Overall though, I would say that as this film had such a personal effect on me I would highly recommend it to anyone. And like I said, you might possibly feel like you're living in the dull town of Sacremento too.
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Character Is The Thing
damian-fuller18 December 2017
How refreshing and invigorating to meet new people. Familiar and new all at the same time. Familiar because the extraordinary Saorise Ronan connected me to her soul, as soon as she appeared on the screen. Remarkable. She is, without question, one of the best actresses of her generation. She has exceptional support here, Laurie Metcalf as the mother determined to keep her feelings at bay, Lucas Hedges, providing one of the most moving, truthful moments in the film and allowing Saorise Ronan to give us a masterful class in empathy. Timothee Chalamet proves in a very short space of time that he is here to stay. His Elio in Call Me By your Name will be considered one of the great breakthrough performances in film history. Tracy Letts plays the father with irresistible humanity and then, of course, a heartfelt congratulations to the writer, director Greta Gerwing -
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Mothers and Daughters and growing up in Sacremento.
graupepillard19 November 2017
Greta Gerwig, usually disappoints me - as an actress and now in her writing and directorial debut, LADY BIRD, a coming-of-age film about a seventeen-year-old girl growing up in Sacramento "…the Midwest of California…" (the best line in the film,) and the love/hate relationship she has with her working-class family and peers. Social distinctions figure prominently in Gerwig's cinematic world of "ironic class strivers." I keep wondering why I am left cold by her words and her characters and eventually understood that LADY BIRD is too self-consciously trying to be inclusive - inclusive of every contemporary issue - touching upon a diversity of characters and situations with momentary episodic flashes.The touch is light, illustrating concerns rather than delving into them, giving us tokenism - glossing over deep pain and longing with a CliffsNotes diminution.

Saoirse Ronan is excellent as Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson - a nickname she gives herself to appear distinctive. I am sympathetic to the aspirations of a young, self- involved teenager searching for a path to glamour and excitement. Youth is an innocent time - one open to endless fantasies - reality has not yet penetrated the hermetic world of dreams. The "firsts" of the teen years - first kiss, first sexual experience leading to the loss of virginity, first self-awareness of one's own ethical and moral values, and the critical realization that the world is not always spinning for you alone - solely for your personal gratification.

The film opens with Lady Bird and her mother - a wonderful performance by Laurie Metcalf - who is driving and listening to Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath on audio tape - both simultaneously weeping, moved by the beauty of the spoken words; their mirrored responses reflect their enduring affection. And suddenly the mood is shattered and we see the other side of their relationship - a mother who works double shifts as a psychiatric nurse to supplement the family income so that her daughter can go to a private Catholic school; the burden of monetary expenses weighs heavily on her shoulders. The ever-present resentment that comes with sacrifice is often unleashed on her oblivious daughter in a torrent of sarcasm, humiliation, and disparagement.

Greta Gerwig is at her best in the scenes between mother/father and daughter. A lovely tenderness exists which is often choked and stifled by the exigencies of financial straits.The underpinnings are there for a truly fine movie, but in the rush to cast a wide net, Gerwig compromises her subjects' humanity, placing a veil of bromides over what could have been profound interactions. Maybe next time. I hope so.
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What happens after school?
Gabriel Marinho10 March 2018
The omnipresent efervecence in the senior year is perfectly portraited in a simple, smart and dinamic coming-of-age story. The emotion transmitted in this movies isn't quite something you can put in words, if you've been through your teenage years you'll understand it, if you haven't, you will someday. The discoveries, the choices, the arguments, the parties, all the experiences that happen in that short period of time, culminate in completely exuberating (or desperating) days when they're brought toghether with an emancipating mind. Lady Bird, Christine's self-given name expresses exactly how her mind works, she wants her own life, simple as that. The reference to a flying bird may represent her desire into moving to New York, studying art and principally, getting out of her hometown, Sacramento, California. Saoirse Ronan gives probably the best work she's ever given, all of the anger and self-assurance is perfectly visible, quite violent sometimes, of course as teenage is in it's true form, brutal. It is really admirable that Greta Gerwig was able to put so much brutality in a delicate indie movie. This is not a film made to visually impress, it's just a story, told with a camera, with the humility necessary to make a movie like this. I dare to say we'll hear a lot from Greta in these next years, about stories that have the emotional appeal that is necessary to make us appreciate the days we are given, beacause as we're pretty well shown, they will change, and we will need to adapt to a new life. This movie proves that a decided woman can do whatever she wants, because after all, this movie is about the transformation of a girl into a woman, in it's true meaning.
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Funny, biting and never anything less than human
DJKwa11 February 2018
Funny, biting and never anything less than human, Lady Bird is an assured directorial debut for indie darling Greta Gerwig. Through her writing and directing, she seems to have absorbed the best qualities of frequent collaborator Noah Baumbach while infusing the film with a personality that feels decisively her own. The characters feel real, the dialogue is snappy and full of witty interplay and it's all neatly packaged into a brisk 93 minutes meaning Lady Bird never looses its edge.

In the titular role, Saoirse Ronan stars as Christine McPherson, a rebellious seventeen year-old who dyes her hair pink, eats communion wafers like snacks and insists that everyone call her Lady Bird. Living in the anaemic suburbs of Sacramento, California (as characterised by an opening quote from Joan Didion), the film follows Christine as she navigates her last year at a Catholic high school from shifting friendships, first loves and, of course, prom.

Despite containing all the requisite elements, calling Lady Bird a coming of age story feels reductive as the film ruminates on parenthood just as much as it does on adolescence. Christine's strained relationship with her mother is an integral part of the story and the depth afforded to her parents ensure they are not simply ancillaries to Christine's own personal growth.

Her mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf), struggles to accept Christine for who she is, juggling her responsibilities as a mother with her willingness to provide unconditional love. She tells her daughter, "I want you to be the very best version of yourself that you can be", to which Christine replies, "What if this is the best version?"

On the other hand, Christine's relationship with her father, Larry (Tracy Letts), is less tempestuous but marked by a brewing sadness. Having recently lost his job and struggling with depression, Larry has to come to terms with the fact that his daughter will soon move out to go to college. The poignant scene the two share together on Christine's eighteenth birthday is pronounced by the mutual understanding that the transition into adulthood means letting go.

The film is remarkably well balanced in its depictions of both sides of the coming-of age narrative. The trials and tribulations experienced by both Christine and her parents' is why Lady Bird will likely feel relatable to audiences of all ages. Even so, Gerwig has stated that she wrote the character of Lady Bird as the opposite to how she was in high school. Perhaps then, Lady Bird feels relatable, as through Christine she has crafted a character for the rebellious, non-conformist streak within all of us.
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The coming-of-age story I never expected to hit me so hard
vmbennett15 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
As someone who went through the exact portion of their life that Lady Bird herself lived through not too long ago, this film pushed all the right buttons in order for me to leave the theater feeling very emotional and touched. I come from a relatively small, boring town in Pennsylvania and I ended up going to a university quite far from it. The college application process was just about as stressful as Lady Bird's, with just as much tension between my mother and I during it. And, of course, I went through normal soul-searching teenager feelings. The thing that struck me the most of all the film was the very end, the coming to terms with herself and realizing all the tension with her mother was the result of realizing that her mom just wanted the best for her and for her to be happy in the end. There's a looming guilt that come with her voicemail to her mother, and that's honestly exactly what I felt the first week of being at my new university. In terms of cinematography, the film never makes it hard to spot Lady Bird as she is very obviously made the dominant with her colored hair compared to everyone else in the film, as well as the fact the camera always seems to be entirely focused on her, because during the film there is a lot of non-verbal awareness of self that you begin to see on her face. The film's colors are also very pastel and muted, with soft lighting that makes the film feel like a memory or a dream, which fits the mood of the film and having it take place in the very early 2000's. That within itself makes it feel all more like my own nostalgia as that period of my own life, while being very young, is very dear to me. However, the one thing in the film that wasn't quite as light and muted was the inside of the house that Lady Bird and her family resided in. The dark colors of the walls and the purposely claustrophobic feel of the house reflect the way that Lady Bird doesn't really FEEL at home where she is, and the darkness is almost like the tension that is present between her and her mother throughout the film. The colors also become un-muted when Lady Bird finally goes to NYC and in the final shot of the scene. It leads itself to the somewhat grim but entirely real, no longer dream-like reality that Lady Bird is in: she's now living in a foreign place with no family or friends after having lived in the same place for her whole life with no one there to support her but herself. That very last shot is what I felt like I could relate too as well, the transition process in moving 300 miles away from home to Rochester, New York of all places (known for its bleak, cloudy days) and the guilt I mentioned earlier hits hard. I don't believe I'll be able to rewatch this movie any time soon, but I think that a few years down the line, maybe once I graduate and start working I will seek this film out and let these feelings wash over me again, and perhaps I'll feel them with less sadness but more nostalgia and will be able to self-reflect with them and realize how much I am capable of growing as a person. As a coming of age film, that's what it's all about, of course: letting people take a look back to see how similar or different their upbringings and life events were and how different you come out in the end.
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"What if this is the best version?"
bob-the-movie-man8 March 2018
When did you grow up? I am now 57, and I'm still "working towards"! I remember distinctly though at the age of 16 thinking "I've got there". And then again at 18. And then again at 21. And then again at 25.... There is something sweet about the certainty of youth that only life's ultimate experiences can roughen the edges of.

"Lady Bird", the directorial debut of Greta Gerwig, features one such teen who thinks she knows it all. Looking and acting for all the world like a 15 year old (something that Margot Robbie really can't pull off in "I, Tonya") Saoirse Ronan plays Christine McPherson who has the given name ("I gave the name to myself") of 'Lady Bird'. She is struggling with a lot of issues: an unreasonable and overbearing (parents: read 'perfectly reasonably but firm') mother (Laurie Metcalf, "Roseanne"); the issues of puberty and young love; the constrictions of a Catholic school she despises; and her inability to perform to the grades she needs to get into a college of her choice. That choice being on the East coast as far away from the backwater of Sacremento ("the mid-west of California" - LoL) as she can get.

Love comes in the form of two serial male fixations: the gorgeous and artistic Danny (Lucas Hedges, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri", "Manchester By The Sea") and the aloof and enigmatic Kyle (Timothée Chalamet, "Call Me By Your Name").

This is a near perfect coming of age film. The plot, while fairly superficial and covering ground well-trodden before, fully engages you and makes the running time just fly by. And there is just so much talent on show. The script by Gerwig is chocker-block full of great and memorable lines; Ronan is pitch-perfect as the irascible and cock-sure teen; Tracy Letts ("The Post") is magnificent in the less showy role as the "good cop" dad, struggling invisibly with his own demons; and Metcalf gives an Oscar-nominated performance that really should give Alison Janney a run for her money... a drive away from an airport conveys just perfectly every college-age parent's emotional low-point.

Where perhaps the film overplays its hand a bit is in the "wrong side of the tracks" line. The household while struggling is by no means trailer-park poor (compare and contrast with "I, Tonya"): perhaps this is the depths of financial desperation found in Sacremento? But I doubt it... there still seems to be money available for fancy cowgirl outfits.

Which leads me to the rating, which seems to have been a common rant in the last few weeks. I would have thought that there was nothing like this film to turn the mirror of reasonableness on a young teen, perhaps helping them to treat their parents better, work harder for college or make better choices. Yet it has a UK 15 certificate. And for what? There is a full frontal male photo-spread in "Playgirl" (I want to say "it's a penis, get over it", but if forced I would have frankly just snipped the 50 milliseconds out to get the lower rating). And there are a few (only a few) F- and C- words. I have the same problem here as with "Phantom Thread" - here is a high-class film that a young teen audience would absolutely love to see. I think the BBFC have got it wrong again here.

I cannot recommend this film enough: a tale of teenage life love and resolution that is hard to beat. Possibly one of the best coming of age tales I've ever seen. On the basis that it looks like I will never get to see "Call Me By Your Name" - the only major one I've missed - before this Sunday's Oscar ceremony, what a great way to round off my Oscar-viewing season.
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Just one more "artsy" try hard movie about "real" teenagehood
zoaki-770294 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Never in my life have I left a movie so disappointed, someone is honestly paying these people ro write good reviews.The plot was tremendously bleak and pretty much non existent, i got no sort of emotional effect? and mind you im a person that is easily moved. The characters were just some hollywoodsy stereotypical tropes of teeenagers, the edgy and extremely angsty white pretty and skinny female protagonist, chubby friend thats always left behind and walked over like a doormat bc of her "good" heart, handsome but eventually gay boyfriend, "deep" edgy hot hipster second boyfriend and the gorgeous popular girl, the adopted(?) asian brother just for th sake of having a "diverse" cast and the overly anxious hard working mom. Wow truly astonishing! Never been done before! The whole movie was extremely cringy, dialogue was painfully unrealistic and nothing close to how real teenagers act or speak but rather a stupid glorification of some sort of silly YA book character from a book probably written by a 35 year old depicting how they WISH their teenagehood was like. A movie bleak like no other. Would recommend to no one , left me with so many unanswered questions.
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Coming of Age Story
sebrahimi-0637028 February 2018
This excellent coming of age film has a perfect balance between humor and drama. Saiorse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, and Timothee Chalamet lead an ensemble cast that is breathtaking. The plot is not original, featuring a Catholic school girl rising above the stifling environment in which she is emerging as an adult. But, the dialogue is both hilarious and heartbreaking. Set in Director and Writer Greta Gerwig's hometown of Sacramento, California, the setting is like an extra character in the film. The camera captures friendship, first love, mother-daughter tension and the everyday lives of multiple people just living their lives. It is so simple in its goals but it hits a home run! Lady Bird deserves all of the hype that it has received.
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Saoirse Ronan shines as Lady Bird
manders_steve25 February 2018
This is a coming of age story about Lady Bird (Christine) McPherson, a final year high school student in Sacramento, California. The strength of the film is the depth of character and relationships between of Lady Bird, her mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf) and father Larry (Tracy Letts).

There are lots of coming of age movies, and this is one of the few I've seen in recent times that really did seem to have something new and interesting to say and show. Maybe some of these related to 'first world problems' or perhaps more accurately 'poor people's problems when looking at rich people' but the complexity and reality I found in the issues raised and the way they were addressed did not detract.

There are many commentaries about relationships, social settings and societal change relevant to the 2002 setting in this film, which I recall clearly as our elder daughter was in the transition from primary to high school around that time.

At times, it isn't easy watching; at times it's really funny and mostly it's encouraging and uplifting. If you have been through that transition from high school to university, employment, or whatever came next for you, I think you'll find something that resonates in this fine film.
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So relatable for Indian middle class
aashutosh-vyas18 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
When i read Anne Frank's memoirs, there were so many comparisons I could draw from a jew girl during second world war and Indian youth who's been imposed with many restrictions. Lady Bird evoked similar feelings.

Lady Bird centers around a teenager, Christine Mcpherson, named christine by her parents hut prefers to be addressed as Lady Bird. Her father working in a company which is constantly laying off many employees, her mother is working rigorously to make her ends meet. Her brother is working in a mall and lives with her girlfriend. Lady bird constantly feels that she is superior than most, feels ashamed of financial status of her family. Her mother constantly keeps telling her that she's ungrateful and ignorant about plight of her family. She constantly feels she's destined for bigger things and her background, surroundings keep pulling her down.

She finds a cute boy who happens to be very rich, he turns out to be gay who hasn't come out of closet yet. She then starts hanging out with a popular girl, distancing her best friend in process. She meets kyle who talks about utopian concepts of having no money, having exotic dreams etc. She ends up losing her virginity to him, which is obviously a big deal for her, however her first time is quite underwhelming, she also finds out that kyle lied about being virgin. She quickly realizes that life which she always found intriguing isn't all what it seems, all that glittered wasn't gold. And she realizes who're really important for her, who'll stand by her in the real tough times, why she should embrace her family.

As it goes in hindi,

Khaya piya aish kiya!

However above line could not be farther from the truth, just because of sheer treatment of the film, because every character looks like people you know, you can see Mrs Mcpherson in nagging mother of your friend, you can see a kyle in your newsfeed having a DSLR camera, not once this film gets melodramatic, you can believe that this things are said/done by real people, some of the scenes, moments stay with you even after a week and you ponder over it. (I watched it 10-12 days back)

This film does leaves you yearning why does not hindi cinema make such films, why does a person need to relate with a girl in sacramento, why does a person needs to draw parallels between middle class in third world country and white trash in USA?

India have had some attempts but most compromise on genuineness in exchange of melodrama!
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A beautiful coming of age movie
chaz-7686229 March 2018
I went into seeing this movie without any idea what this movie was about. I knew that it was a coming of age tale but that was about it. As I walked away, I knew I had just seen something great.

Firstly, the script was amazing. The dialogue between the characters was very flowing and felt very real. I felt invested in the characters and the situations they were going through because the script showed them as honest human beings. When a film does that, you know its good.

Secondly, the acting. The acting was so honest and down to earth that the characters became even more developed and towards the end I began to feel for them. They really sold the comic moments and the felling of growing up and discovering yourself.

Finally, the cinematography. While I was watching this I didn't pay too much the the cinematography, partly because I was more invested in the story, but upon thinking about it, it was beautiful. I was shot in a way that kept the audience interested for its whole run time and at no point was I thinking about anything else.

Overall, this film will go down as one of my favourites for being real, heart felt and beautiful.
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A rare treat of a movie
rogerdarlington26 March 2018
It is such a rarity - but a delight - to see a maintstream movie both written and directed by a woman. As well as being a fine actress, Greta Gerwig has written before (notably "Frances Ha" and "Mistress America") but this is her directorial début. Astonishingly (but deservedly), at the age of just 34 this made her only the fifth woman in history to be nominated for a Best Director Academy Award and the first to be so honoured for her directorial début (but she did not win).

It is also uncommon - but again a pleasure - to have a leading role in a film with a decent budget taken by a young actress. Here Irish Saoirse Ronan plays the eponymous 17 year old American senior year high school student in this coming-of-age story. We first saw Ronan in "Atonement" but she has since proved to be an outstanding talent in work such as "Hanna" and "Brooklyn".

"Lady Bird" is clearly semi-autobiographical territory for Gerwig: the central character's real name is Christine (the name of Gerwig's mother); the narrative is set in the early 2000s when Gerwig herself was a teenager; and, like Christine, Gerwig went to a Catholic high school in Sacramento before studying at a liberal arts college in New York City.

But Gerwig does not romantise her central character who has acne and a poor hair dye and exhibits selfishness and anger as well as charm and humour in a narrative that is at turns poignant and funny but always engaging. Although the focus is on one girl in one year, the supporting characters - notably Lady Bird's parents and four friends (two girls and two boys) - are well-cast with Laura Metcalf especially impressive as the hard-pressed mother. In short, a rare treat of a movie which, at just 93 minutes, never overstays its warm welcome.
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a rewarding, uplifting and funny passion project equipped with heart, brain and felicity
lasttimeisaw2 March 2018
One year ago, no one on the earth could have foretold that the next female Oscar BEST DIRECTOR nominee would be Greta Gerwig (the fifth overall after Lina Wertmüller, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigeolow, the only winner), not even Ms. Gerwig herself, if I may presume, yet, miracle transpires in the form of LADY BIRD, Gerwig's solo feature directorial debut (previously she co-directed the Independent Spirt Awards nominated mumblecore NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS 2008 with Joe Swanberg), an effervescent coming-of-age story takes place in her hometown Sacramento.

Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Ronan) is a senior student in a Catholic high school, the film roughly covers her last year before starting her tertiary education, "Lady Bird", a named given to her by herself, has a headstrong streak written in her genes, like gazillions of other pubescent spirits peopled around our globe, she revolts against her quibbling mother Marion (Metcalf), and at the same time, desperately seeks for the latter's validation, she wants her mother to like her (as a person), not just love her (because she is her daughter), a sagacious point poignantly reverberates with audience in its universality and intimacy, and the truth is, there are many such sensible touches populated in Gerwig's stimulating script, which can be partially accounted for LADY BIRD's runaway success, because empathy and amenity are like ambrosia, really as scarce as hen's teeth under the designation of "chick flick".

Lady Bird embraces the "me against the whole world" scenario with brio and chutzpah, throwing back talk both at home and at school in order to snatch the evanescent one-upmanship, and makes erroneous choices in her romantic quests, both Danny (Hedges, unexpectedly versatile in projecting a tenderness that is contrarian to his braggadocious Oscar-nominated turn in MANCHESTER BY THE SEA 2016) and Kyle (Chalalmet, what a killjoy!) are anticlimactic episodes, the one with whom she attends the high school prom is actually her best friend Julie (Steffans), romance is transitory, but friends are for life, another lesson learned after her inept hobnobbing with the popular (yet vacuous) gal Jenna (Rush) in order to catch the attention of the cool boy Kyle.

All in all, the most intense bond is of course, the familial one, on her pursuance of severing the umbilical cord, Lady Bird eventually comes to terms with her christened name, her modest, imperfect family, her benevolent and supportive father Larry (a heartwarming Letts) is laid off and has been combating depression for a long time; her double-shift engaged nurse mother Marion's constant nitpicking just mirrors her own apprehension that she couldn't help her daughter to become the best version of herself in spite of the fact that she has maxed herself out. TV and stage veteran Laurie Metcalf is given a rare opportunity to shine on the bigger screen to epitomizes an ordinary mother's broader spectrum of parenting angst and she kills it, not just in that tear-jerking car-roving moment.

Time and again, Saoirse Ronan vanishingly conceals her ethnic traits and flawlessly transmogrifies herself as a flawed American teenager in this Bildungsroman, a fiery but sensitive, opinionated yet good-natured girl who only finds what home and family means when she finally flutters away on her own. Greta Gerwig's LADY BIRD is a rewarding, uplifting and funny passion project equipped with heart, brain and felicity, one simply hope these fantastic characters will be kept in Gerwig's next directorial outing, as we are compelled to wonder what will happen next to the extraordinary Lady Bird and her family.
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A heartwarming movie that will touch any good parents of teenage children.
markgorman18 February 2018
Although this movie explores much trodden territory - a Catholic schoolgirl's coming of age movie - it's one for parents of around my age (50's) rather than the teen lead it features. In that role Saiorse Ronan deservedly nets another Oscar nomination (sadly for her she is up against the imperious Frances McDormand and therefore cannot win) in a performance that is as real and as raw as any you'll see this year.

But it's not just Ronan's performance that makes this the movie it is. It's the triangular relationship between her (a disillusioned small town girl from Sacramento who dreams of the creativity and urban rawness of East Coast New York) her driven, ambitious (for her daughter) and seemingly hard-hearted, unemotional mother (Laurie Metcalfe) and her long-suffering, delightful father (Tracy Letts).

How the three deal with one another and how those relationships play out are at the heart of a movie that touches the heart-strings many times.

Take a hankie.

It's not damning Greta Gerwig's directorial debut with faint praise by describing it as nice because it really is, in the finest tradition of the word, a truly nice cinematic experience. It has grit, humour and emotion, but the overwhelming take out is just how 'nice' it is.

The first act is hilarious in which 'Lady Bird', the given name (given to herself) of Christine, her best friend Julie and her first boyfriends enact small time life, love and prom-going.

The setting, in an all girls' Catholic High School, lends itself to much hilarity, with some excellently original rebellion. My favourite scene is where 'Lady Bird' and Julie scoff a tub of communion wafers whilst talking about sex. ("It's OK. They're not consecrated.")

Although the gradual sexual fulfilment that Lady Bird experiences is nothing new Ronan's performance keeps you interested, and when the consequences lead to confrontations and discussions between her and her parents - rarely acted out as a three hander because Mum and Dad lead separate (although still loving) lives - the movie reveals its depth.

It's the relationship between mother and daughter that is the real dramatic grit in thi particular oyster. Here Gerwig teases out brilliance by both actors and it's the result of this difficult 'ambitious-mom' tension that drives the movie.

As the film reaches its climax how that plays out is what results in the handkerchief moments and leaves you emotionally satisfied in a movie that is greater than the sum of its parts.
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Sweet coming of age story with quirks
Joe Stemme4 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Greta Gerwig has been an "it" girl on the indie scene for several years. It may be a bit ironic that her most acclaimed movie would come when she stepped behind the camera with LADY BIRD (she previously co-directed NIGHTS & WEEKENDS, and co-starred as well). Here, Saorise Ronan is the stand-in Gerwig as a character named Christine, who like the real Gerwig, is a rebellious teen in Sacramento California who dreams of New York City.

Christine has re-dubbed herself "Lady Bird" and is going to a Catholic High School and is going through all the usual growing pains. Grewig has made a name for herself with her quirky characters and there's more than a bit of that to wade through here. It takes some time to get past the notion that Ronan is giving her own performance here and not just doing a Greta act (similar to many a Woody Allen lead performance by 'substitute' Woodys). As fiercely individualistic as Gerwig is as an actress, Ronan gives Lady Bird a bit of a softer and more vulnerable side that is more effective than if Gerwig had performed it herself. Kudos to her for embracing it.

Most importantly, Gerwig does an excellent job at keeping the movie rolling along at a brisk 93 minutes, with some scenes being literally seconds long - nothing self-indulgent here (although there is a scene or two that could have been allowed to breathe a bit). The cast, including several young actors is uniformly fine. Laurie Metcalf as her tough mother could have used a little leavening. As written and performed, she comes off a bigger harridan than is what was likely intended. Some of the offbeat mumblecore touches stick out as unnecessary, but, what separates LADY BIRD from so many of them (including, frankly, a number of Gerwig's movies), is that there is genuine heart and compassion here, not just ironic detachment. Further grounding things is a keen appreciation of middle class life with the scenes of shopping at thrift stores, window browsing for homes they can't afford etc. - or, as Lady Bird sardonically refers to it: "Coming from the wrong side of the tracks." Credit, too, for not ending in the conventionally expected way. Just a warm sigh.
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Great storyline
parameswaranrajendran4 March 2018
Lady Bird is a story of a teenager girl that wants to go to the college in New York city with a backdrop of daughter & mother emotion. This film has 5 nominations for tomorrow's 90th Academy Award function. All the best to talented female director Greta Gerwig & team.
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Good Directorial debut !
Lewis Heather29 December 2017
When you hear all the fantastic praise that a new Oscar bait film is getting, you should probably watch it. Even though I'm personally not the target audience or demographic for this film I still ended up liking the film quite a bit.

The biggest accomplishment and positive in the film is the directing by Greta Gerwig, which for a first time directing is an outstanding achievement. You honestly would not be able to tell if this was directing by an all time great or a newcomer. She has done an amazing job directing the film in this regard it has no faults at all. With this being her first film she has an extremely bright and interesting future ahead and I'm definitely now keen to see what she does next.

The other main positive of the film are the performances which across the board are fantastic, however there are a couple of standouts. Firstly Saoirse Ronan who is fantastic in the film and brings such heart to the character of Lady Bird. For me personally this is one of her best performances that she has done and only increases her reputation. Hopefully this will open up the door for her to get bigger roles more often, she is brilliant. The other standout in the film is Lady Bird's mother played by Laurie Metcalf, she is again incredible in the role and brings elements to her character that I think everyone will recognise in their own mother. She hopefully will get some awards buzz and maybe even a nomination.

Unfortunately though and I know that this is my own personal problem and fault that I feel this is film maybe a little overrated. This is partially to due my fault because well this isn't my type of film, I know thats not the films fault. I could never really connect to the story of the film but again thats my own opinion and fault, but I can understand how and why people really do connect with the story. Lastly the film is good is just nothing amazing or ground breaking in any sense so thats where I'm a little......not disappointed...... let down by the film because I was expecting a lot more considering the praise.

Overall its 70% out of 100 or 7 out of 10 its a good film and its a brilliant starting point for Greta Gerwig's directing career. As well as bringing us great directing it gives us two great performances that will really leave an impression on you after watching it. However because I couldn't connect to the film that much it didn't hit me as hard as it should emotionally, but again thats my problem really not the films. Best directing Oscar Nomination?
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A teen's life, in all its annoying realism
Semisonic5 March 2018
Fighting with your parents over your freedom to decide for yourself, struggling with financial difficulties, trying so hard to impress others to actually feel like people care about you and pay attention, doing the stupidest things out of fear of being rejected otherwise.

These things, and a million of other ones, are what an almost grown up human being's life is about. Well, maybe not everywhere and not for everyone, but most of us could surely relate to what Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson goes through. What Saoirse Ronan did to her character is no small feat. With her porcelain doll beauty and those pale blue eyes, she goes out of her typical closed and emotionally restrained character and becomes someone who yells and screams and laughs and cries and breaks things on screen, making Lady Bird so intense that it's unbearable at some points.

Making the character of Lady Bird so intense and hard to handle is probably both the film's best feature and its most serious flaw. In all the multitude of coming-of-age movies, the kid characters are mostly childish and they do dumb things often - but then some uncanny wisdom comes upon them and they grow up in our eyes and suddenly become reasonable and - let's be honest about this - tolerable at last. Lady Bird takes a slightly different road of dropping that sugarcoating and leaving Christine what she is - conflicted, hysterical, inconsistent and, damn, annoying! Just like the character of Christine's mother struggles to write her a letter and to choose words that would both be kind and ring true, so does the audience have a hard time accepting Lady Bird's edgy self. I certainly found it hard to do.

It's curious why we people love the coming-of-age stories. The kids watch them to see that someone does understand and does care about who they are, to see someone else who'd tell them that they are not alone. And we adults watch them to seek hope that those chaotic and erratic creatures we once gave birth to are indeed our kin and that sometime soon you'd get on the same page and would be able to actually talk to each other like responsible people.

In terms of promising the older generations a magical realm in which their progeny will be delivered to their hands all mature and stuff, Lady Bird isn't too reassuring. Nor does it promise us that kids secretly understand everything and it's just a lack of communication - because it's just not true. But there's one thing about this story that redeems all the facepalm moments you experience watching those kids do their kid stuff. That, just like the kids are not alone in their struggle, so aren't their parents. So there's no reason to blame the world on yourself and drown yourself in guilt and anger begotten by it - 'cause you're no more guilty than the other guy.

So, if you have a bird you love - just set it free, and if it loves you back, it will return some day and somehow.
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Interesting and unconventional coming of age story
austin07313 March 2018
Lady Bird has got to be one of the most interesting and unconventional coming of age stories, it is a story of rebellion, the search for self identity and love. While common conventions in teenage dramas and coming of age tales, Lady bird does so in a smart and interesting way that results in a film both amusing and heartwarming.

The film features the themes of self identity in the character of Lady Bird, portrayed wonderfully by Saoirse Ronan. From the get-go we see her as a character who hates the place she lives, Sacramento and imagines herself in a different life somewhere more 'cultured like New York'. It's that sense of furthering herself and finding who she is that drives the actions of the character throughout the film. Saoirse Ronan portrays Lady bird in a fearless, fierce and even 'badass' way that really adds the heart and layer to the film when eventually that person almost dissolves and we understand the character on a deeper level.

Of course, this is also a film about love and more specifically the concept that love is attention. The core relationship between lady bird and her mother Marion played by Laurie Metcalf is the central love story of Lady bird. The attention and care that they give to each other that may seem toxic from an outsider's perspective versus the authenticity of the love and care that we as audiences also witness through the characters' own perspective. The small moments where no words are spoken yet they understand the needs of each other, such subtle details make this concept work and allows for the audience to really resonate with the authenticity of the film's portrayal of love between mother and daughter.

Overall, Lady bird was a very interesting exploration of the genre and a discussion about the teenage years as the years of exploration, experimentation and the search for self identity. But also the message that regardless of what happens there is always the anchor in the form of your home/families that was beautifully established here via the relationship of lady bird and Marion.
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elliest_57 March 2018
So, I cried throughout the second half of this film and I'm not even sure why.

I mean, I kinda know why: in Lady Bird I could see myself as a teenager, being equally confused, miserable, enthusiastic, ambitious, scared, angry, angsty, all at the same time...wanting to pick a fight with my mum every other second and run to her for a hug right afterwards. It's all very common and very natural, so the success of this film doesn't come from its story, it comes from the way in which it is told.

Everything in this film feels so real and it hits all the right notes. The creative choice was "make it natural" and that's what they did: the dialogue, the acting, the photography is all spot-on and flawlessly contributes to the overall vision.

The title of my review is a reference to Linklater's film "Boyhood", another recent coming-of-age story with very similar goals and similar aspirations of realism. Although not comparable in terms of scope and ambition (Lady Bird didn't quite take 12 years to shoot nor did it aim to cover such a long period in the story, merely covering a year's worth of events in the protagonist's life) I think this film is a worthy and probably superior counterpart to "Boyhood".
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The best coming-of-age film since "The 400 Blows"
georgepsoady26 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I have been typing, deleting and re-typing text for ten minutes, trying to start this review, and honestly, I do not know where to begin. Perhaps, I should start where "Lady Bird" itself begins, which is in a cheap car with a mother and daughter driving along a road outside Sacramento, California, talking about the future. The daughter, who is the titular "Lady Bird" (played brilliantly by Saoirse Ronan), is talking about getting into collage, and how "she wants to live through culture". The Mum retaliates and begins to become hateful towards Lady Bird, which then persuades Lady Bird to jump out of the moving car.

After this little incident, the film fully begins, setting in motion for various events to happen to Lady Bird and her friends: in the 95 minutes of running-time, Lady Bird falls in and out of love, has sex and gains+loses friends. All of these events just pull together the main theme of the movie: a mum and daughter relationship.

As a mum and daughter they laugh, they cry, they fight and they smile, but at the end of the day they truly love each other, and deep down they both know it. Also, the town of Sacramento (and in-particular Lady Birds "hate" for it) is a big part of the story.

On the whole, the film is superb with superb performances, a superb script, some superb (solo-debut) directing from Greta Gerwig and most importantly a beautiful message, which will not only relate with audiences and movie-goers alike, but also make them feel a certain way.

The film manages to pull of everything a masterpiece should have and does it effortlessly. It (mostly) deserves all the awards it gets.
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