New Review: Lady Bird (2017)

Updated on December 4, 2017

Director: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalfe, Bennie Feldstein, Tracy Letts, Marielle Scott, Jordan Rodrigues, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Odeya Rush, Lois Smith, Kathryn Newton, Stephen Henderson

She’s not afraid to speak her mind. Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) is such a head-strong character that when a theater director at the Catholic high school she attends asks her if Lady Bird is her given name, she responds with “I gave it to myself. It’s given to me by me!” At times this trait is really quite charming, and the always talented Ronan immerses herself fully into the role. At other times, you get as frustrated with the character as her poor mother.

Take the scene where she and her fellow classmates are in the school gymnasium listening to an anti-abortion woman giving her story about how her mother at first considered aborting her before deciding against it. Lady Bird has already been established as a staunch anti-Republican, so it’s not really surprising when we find out that she’s pro-abortion. What is surprising is the thoughtless and astonishingly cruel thing she says to the woman in an attempt to shut her up (which ultimately gets her suspended from school).

As ugly as that scene is, I won’t deny one thing: it certainly felt honest. Like her or not, the character Lady Bird is a fully realized and realistic character, and one that was obviously inspired by debut writer and director Greta Gerwig (who’s a notable and very talented independent actress). Like her character, Gerwig was born and raised in Sacramento, she did attend a Catholic school, and she did go to a liberal arts college in New York City. Gerwig writes the character so intimately at times that it feels like we’re listening to Gerwig herself, and the film’s best and most personal scene is easily its last one, where Lady Bird makes a phone call home.

Love her or hate her, she feels like a real person. O.O
Love her or hate her, she feels like a real person. O.O

There’s really not much of a plot to write about. The movie’s more of a slice-of-life drama than a narrative driven film. We follow Lady Bird through her senior year of high school, as she tries participating in the school theater with her best friend Julie (Bennie Feldstein) and even crushes on a couple of guys at her school. The first boy she dates is Danny (Lucas Hedges), who’s big into theater and seems to have a soft spot for Lady Bird, until she discovers his secret one night that immediately puts an end to their relationship. Then, she goes for bad-boy Kyle (Timothée Chalamet), who plays an electric guitar in a band, and who may not be as honest as she thinks he is.

Things are certainly heated in the home front. After her loving father Larry (Tracy Letts) loses his job, her RN mother Marion (Laurie Metcalfe) has to pick up double shifts at the hospital to support the family. Her adopted brother Miguel (Jordan Rodrigues) lives at home with his girlfriend Shelly (Marielle Scott), and she finds the both of them to be quite a nuisance. Lady Bird wants to move out of Sacramento (which she finds incredibly boring) and attend a liberal arts college out in New York, and while her father is supportive, her mother vehemently opposes the idea.

The heart of the movie is the relationship between mother and daughter. While there’s obviously love between the two of them, they are both so equally willful and head-strong that they frequently get into bitter arguments with each other. The film begins with them on a road trip and crying as they listen to The Grapes of Wrath on cassette. They seem to enjoy each other’s company, but when Lady Bird tries turning on the radio and the mother asks her not to, it leads to an argument so heated and fierce that Lady Bird actually jumps out of the car while it’s driving to get away from her mother (she spends the bulk of the movie with her arm in a cast).

The heart of the movie right here!
The heart of the movie right here!

Some of the film's best moments are between mother and daughter. Their on-again-off-again relationship, which goes from love to hate to love again almost with the span of a couple of minutes, is so unpredictable that it feels completely real. There’s one scene in a thrift shop that made me smile, where the two of them seem to be getting into another argument. Just as it seems to be getting more heated by the second, it ends so quickly and abruptly the moment they find a Thanksgiving outfit for Lady Bird that they both like.

There are many scenes in this movie that I regard with affection. I laughed when Lady Bird and Julie begin snacking on unconsecrated Eucharist bread like Pringles while talking about masturbation, and I appreciated the genial portrayal of Sister Sarah Joan (Lois Smith), who responds with a hearty laugh after Lady Bird pranks her by taping the sign “Just Married to Jesus” on the tail end of her car. I liked the scene where Lady Bird realizes how she inadvertently hurt her father (who won't say anything about it because he's too nice), and I laughed when the P.E. took over as theater director. Ronan is terrific as the lead character, but it’s Metcalfe as Lady Bird’s mother who steals the show. Her performance is so raw and so convincing that it should garner her recognition come Oscar season.

Lady Bird is a well-made and very well-acted movie, and it’s easy to see why people love it. And yet, I can’t really embrace it the way that so many people have. While I did enjoy the film, I was never really emotionally invested in it. There are a number of people who said they could relate to a lot of what happens in the film, but I just…couldn’t. This is a good movie, and it is worth seeing at least once. But could I relate to it? I was fully invested in it? Do I feel the need to ever see it again? Not really.

Final Grade: *** (out of ****)

Rated R for profanity, sexual content, teen partying, and one clip from a porno magazine (or as the MPAA would say, “brief graphic nudity”)

What did you think of this movie? :D

4 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Lady Bird (2017)

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)