Lady Bird (2017)
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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.
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.
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?
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.
And so, I thank both the academy and golden globes (Something I've always wanted to say) for forcing me to watch this movie due to its accolades because i wouldn't have otherwise.
I would definitely recommend this movie. Quietly funny, emotional and very relatable.
Set in 2002 in Sacramento, California, the story of Lady Bird follows a 17-year old high school senior who longs to attend college in a city that has culture. The plot covers her final year at high school where she participates in a theatre program, has a series of first-time experiences, and starts applying for out-of-state colleges in order to get away from her family & small town life.
Written & directed by Greta Gerwig, every aspect of Lady Bird screams her name right down to the bone. Every moment, every character, every interaction, every creative choice carries her signature. It's so tightly knitted with Gerwig's persona that the film defines her and she defines this film. And that gives it a uniqueness, an authenticity & an originality that's rarely found in a debut effort.
All the characters & their respective arcs exhibit sufficient depth & richness, their interaction carries a real vibe too, and their actions are just as relatable. The early 2000s setting is wonderfully recreated with era-specific fashion & musical trends and it captures that cusp of adulthood moment with finesse. Also present in high dosage is the quirkiness & effervescent wit that one associates with Greta Gerwig.
Despite all the coming-of-age elements, the core ingredient that drives Lady Bird from start to finish is the mother-daughter relationship and though we see them both arguing about the smallest of things, their underlying love is deeply felt at all times. Gerwig has created something that's personal, nostalgic & reminiscent of our own life and no matter how small or big, some part of it will strike a chord with almost every viewer.
Coming to the performances, Lady Bird packs a committed cast in Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Beanie Feldstein, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges & Timothee Chalamet, with Ronan & Metcalf impressing the most. Ronan brings a charm of her own to infuse life into a character that's tailor-made for Gerwig herself. Metcalf is even better and the mother-daughter chemistry between the two is electric. The rest of the cast is no slouch in their given roles and play their part responsibly.
On an overall scale, Lady Bird is a dream start to Greta Gerwig's directorial career and isn't just one of the best films of its year but is impressive enough to rank amongst the finest examples of its genre. A cinematic equivalent of joy that's as lively, friendly, cheerful, jubilant, gleeful, lighthearted, adventurous & vivacious as its creator, Lady Bird commences a new chapter in Greta Gerwig's life on the best possible note with a promise of greater things to come. Definitely worth a shot.
Yes, Lady Bird has its moments. You will almost certainly love it.
It's hard not to.
Lady Bird is directed and written by Greta Gerwig and stars Saorise Ronan as the titular character, Lady Bird. Lady Bird is a coming of age tale of a teenager preparing to enter college. Along the way, Lady Bird and her family encounter problems of their own.
Lady Bird is expertly written. Each of the characters feels distinct and has their own motivations and personalities. The writing and dialogue is the greatest positive the movie has to offer. Greta Gerwig has outdone herself by capturing her hometown feelings of Sacramento into the script. The story's heart and soul are in two characters, Lady Bird and her mother. The movie starts with these two discussing colleges. It is here that Lady Bird makes it clear what her intentions are. She dreams of leaving her past behind and going to college on the East coast. However, her mother does not agree with the plan as she sees Lady Bird as being selfish. The family had undergone financial crisis with much of the parental backstory being told through dialogue. The movie pulls at heart strings of bad teenage mistakes, family troubles, and parental failings. It is the ability to merge through the writing that elevates each of these individual tropes into a solid package.
I did find the movie a little blandly directed but that does not detract from the overall experience. I highly recommend Lady Bird.
Four stars out of four stars.
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.
With this delicate touch of humour and very likeable characters it is a dreamy piece of cinema, performed by very young director who proudly represents women in this year's directing category. Crossed fingers for Greta although my heart belongs to del Toro (The Shape of Water in next part). She is also responsible for the screenplay, which is based on her own adolescence, according to what I've read somewhere.
Anyway, Lady Bird is a smartass, who is brave enough to dream outside her small world of Sacramento. She fights for her future even when the whole world doesn't believe she could win. This is a film of finding values in life and searching for a place. Furthermore, it is not so heavy like other Best Pictures. It is fun to watch, to breath a little and maybe just remind yourself about your own high school. The humour here is situational and very subtle.
What brings a lot to this film are also actors. Saoirse Ronan is expectional, which is a great compliment from me (The Host was lame). However this category is very strong this year, she did deserved her nomination. The background is very strong, too, though. Laurie Metcalf is a mom having all these mother values and flaws. She is a strong woman who fights her best for her children. It is a year for mums, right?
Some good small characters played by Timothee Chalamet (nominated for Call Me By Your Name) or Lucas Hedges (also in Three Billboards) are also noticeable. Everyone has a personality, everyone has a meaning. It is not just empty background to fill up the film. Sacramento is living on its own.
My sort of favourite is Beanie Feldstein (picture below). She didn't have such glamorous acting past but I enjoyed Julie very much. I wish her luck and more good roles in the future.
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.
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.
Fantastic movie. Well done acting. Not to be missed.
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.
Greta Gerwig brings a personal touch to the mother-daughter relationship and her home town of Sacramento. There is a warmth to their verbal combat. There is real heart to their portrayal. There is biting humor and quirky gentleness. There are real insights into the mother daughter connection. Only one scene troubled me. Saoirse dials up the "Please talk to me" scene to eleven when a nine would be more heart-breaking. I see the emotional push but it gets too manufactured in that one scene. Overall, this is an outstanding film with some great laughs.
Lady Bird is an amazing film. Director Greta Gerwig has given us a simple yet highly entertaining movie, of a headstrong girl who will stop at nothing to achieve her dreams. Gerwig expertly balances the comedic & dramatic moments. The performances are the highlight of the movie. Saorise Ronan is spectacular as Lady Bird McPherson. Ronan is becoming one of the finest young actresses in Hollywood, after similar performances in The Grand Budapest Hotel(2014) & Brooklyn(2015). Laurie Metcalf is outstanding as Marion McPherson. The dynamic between Ronan & Metcalf's characters makes this film, unforgettable. Tracy Letts is brilliant as Larry McPherson. Lucas Hedges is superb as Danny O'Neill. Timothee Chalamet is awesome as Kyle Scheible. Beanie Feldstein is excellent as Julie Steffans. Lois Smith & Stephen Henderson are good as Sister Sarah Joan & Father Leviatch, respectively. Odeya Rush, Jordan Rodriguez & Marielle Scott are impressive as Jenna Walton, Miguel McPherson & Shelly Yuhan, respectively. Lady Bird is a must watch. Go, relive your rebellious teenage years again.
Although I do like this film I don't quite love it like most people do and all the enormous praise it has received over the past few months as lead to being considered one of if not the best film of the year. For me it's not quite up there although it was very pleasant and entertaining to watch. There is a great sense of place present in the movie and it's clear that Gerwig and her title character really do actually love Sacramento as the latter begins to realize when speaking with a nun (Lois Smith) at her school towards the end of the film.
The movie has a great ensemble cast including Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet who all give decent turns as their respective vital characters. However, it really is carried by Ronan and Metcalf and the best moments are when they are sharing scenes together. It is crazy to think that Ronan who is good in literally everything is on her third Oscar nomination with this film. But then again considering the talent she has maybe it's not crazy at all but expected. So all in all, 'Lady Bird' is a sweet, heartwarming coming-of-age tale that pulls you in with its intriguing script and keeps you their with its magnetic performances.