Actress turned director Greta Gerwig gives a slice of life circa 2002 in the coming of age story Lady Bird starring Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. The film focuses on the life of high school senior Christine (Ronan) who prefers to go by the name Lady Bird, even though it drives her always critical mother played by Laurie Metcalf nuts. The movie takes a humorous and sometimes harsh looking a trying to become your own person while still living under your parent’s roof. It’s not always pretty, but it’s reality.
Saoirse Ronan shows again why she already has two Oscar nominations and may receive another for her work in Lady Bird. Ronan delivers a strong and sometimes sad performance as a young girl trying to find her place as an outsider in the social ranks of high school. She’ll make you laugh with her edgy comments and foolish actions, but also pity her as you remember what it’s like to be a teenager where every little thing matters in your personal life. The greatest day ever is usually followed by the end of the world in Lady Bird’s life at home and at school. Ronan morphs Christine into many different forms over the course of Lady Bird. Some are charming and quirky while others are selfish and thoughtless. Saoirse Ronan under the direction of Greta Gerwig brings a living breathing teenager to life who is full of bad choices and behavior we all may have fallen victim to while growing up.
The rest of the cast surrounding Ronan in Lady Bird are also excellent in their supporting roles, especially Laurie Metcalf as Christine’s tough mother Marion who is the on again, off again villain in her life. Metcalf brings this overbearing mother to life, which will surely have some audience members feeling awkward seeing their own life played out on-screen with some of the mother daughter conversations heard in Lady Bird. Marion is a flawed individual that doesn’t always say or do the right things, but she does care for her family even if she has a hard time showing. Laurie Metcalf gives a performance in Lady Bird that will surely have voters adding her name to the Best Supporting Actress category during Awards Season.
Lady Bird is full of strong acting from Ronan and Metcalf, but the plot of the film is quite simple. Don’t expect anything flashy or glitzy from this character study about a girl who believes she’s better than the place she grew up in. Nothing too crazy happens along the way as Christine navigates the social waters of high school. There may not be much to the story with an ending that has a “That’s it?” feeling to it, but the scenes and dialogue just feel so real which is the strength of the work. Lady Bird appears semi-autobiographical for director Greta Gerwig presenting some not so nice aspects from her past in order to exorcise the demons from High School while simultaneously creating a film we can all find relatable.
Overall, I give Lady Bird 3.25 out of 4 stars.
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