Christine “Lady Bird” Mcpherson is living out her last year of high school—a strange time filled with many lasts, firsts, and whoops.
She resents her hometown of Sacramento, CA (calling it the “midwest of California”), fights with her mother, and chases after boys. She is forging her own identity, all the while forgetting the people and places who made her. On some level, we all relate to Lady Bird. She is you. She is me. No, I did not rename myself; I did not really hate my hometown and I did not go to Catholic school, but the best part of Lady Bird is that no matter how crazy the main character may seem at times, the crazy world she lives in is the same as our own.
The movie will have you laughing the whole time. Sometimes laughing and crying? Sometimes laughing until you cry? As genius as the script and cinematography is, this ‘wow’ ensuing film couldn’t have happened without its excellent cast. The film sports a long list of talented young actors from Call Me By Your Name’s Timothée Chalamet as the local anarchist named Kyle, to Manchester By the Sea’s Lucas Hedges as Lady Bird’s dream-boy, and Odeya Rush as the girl who has it all.
And while leading-lady Saoirse Ronan certainly excels in her role as Lady Bird, she is not my favorite performance of the film. Rather, I was in awe of the supporting roles of Laurie Metcalf and Beanie Feldstein. Metcalf plays Lady Bird’s mother, and together, Lady Bird and her mother embody the relationship between mother and daughter in those challenging “teenage years.” Metcalf’s performance is natural and captivating; she steals every scene. Feldstein plays Lady Bird’s longtime best friend and sidekick named Julie, and she is remarkable in this movie. Her character could easily be a cliche, as most “best friend” characters are, but Feldstein depicts the character in such a way that elevates Julie to that girl that we all kind of feel that we are.
A lot of times, reviews like to compare movies to other movies, but I cannot find something to which I can accurately compare Lady Bird. It seems to me, that from now on, Lady Bird is the movie we will compare all other excellent coming-of-age movies to. We will say that this or that is “in the vein of Lady Bird” or that this captivating character “reminded me of Lady Bird.” It just makes sense that this movie broke Rotten Tomatoes’ record for best reviewed movie in the site’s history.
Here is a movie that just breathes. In a triumphant directorial debut, Gerwig finds a way to fit so much into the smallest of moments. In the theater, Lady Bird rolling on screen, my body knew what I was feeling before I knew what I was watching. The movie is fast paced and poignant, offering raw, honest, and entertaining insights into life, not only for adolescents, but adults as well. So I have to say something:
Go see this movie to see strong women in film.
Go see this movie to find something in yourself.
Go see this movie to see the best movie of the year.
Go see this movie because you are doing yourself a disservice if you do not.