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Lady Bird: A Different Female Protagonist

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Georgetown chapter.

Greta Gerwig’s first solo directorial debut, Lady Bird has fulfilled every expectation I had and more. Starring Saoirse Ronan, this coming of age film forgoes the typical teenage angst of girl meets boy and lives happily ever after and instead pivots to the ultimate question all girls face at the crossroads of high school and college: What space to I occupy in this seemingly limitless and daunting world and what is my role within this chaos?

In the film, Christine McPherson (Ronan) desperately tries to escape her hometown of Sacramento, California, which she fondly calls “the midwest of California.” She dreams of attending college in the heart of civilization, New York. Like a lot of people from the West Coast, she wants a taste of the life she believes awaits her on the East Coast. We follow Christine, who goes by the name she gave herself, “Lady Bird,” as she experiences the vastly complicated and nuanced terrain of high school.

You can’t help but feel transported to your own high school experience as you follow Lady Bird through a series of all too relatable disappointments that come your way when you’re a seventeen year old girl in the suburbs. Lady Bird transports you back to many firsts, and I couldn’t help but see myself in her. Remember the boy that was all kinds of disappointing and terrible and you still chose to like him or even love him? Remember naively thinking that your small hometown was something to escape instead of cherish? Remember all of the times you lied so people would like you? Remember crying to Dave Matthews Band “Crash Into Me” at some point in your life (if not then take a listen and cry now)? Remember coming to college and realizing that maybe you should be thankful for the small and all too comfortable abode that’s now thousands of miles away? I do, I still do.

Lady Bird chanels all of this nostalgia into a film that could easily have been cliche and ordinary, but Gerwig delivers a powerful sense of adulthood juxtaposed with the naivete we all had at 17 and maybe still have at 20, sitting in our apartments in college thinking it was just a phase we had outgrown. This film perfectly captures the limbo that is the transition from fighting with your mom in your teenage bedroom to your first time being drunk in a claustrophobic college dorm and wishing your mom was there.  

Being a kid of the 2000s, this film was especially poignant and enthralling. To see how universal my experiences actually are, to see them on a big screen with other people laughing and saying “SAME” at the screen around me, made me feel comforted. Perhaps we all had the same angst, the same disappointment. Perhaps strong willed and free spirited girls like Lady Bird, and myself, have a less than pleasant high school experience and later a less than pleasant introduction to the real world of big cities and new found freedom. But, maybe we’re better for it.


Ronan’s stunning performance matched with strong support from Laurie Metcalf and an array of up and coming Hollywood stars breathes life into the feelings I could never articulate in high school or even in college. I sit here typing, reflecting on my high school years and the past year and a half of college and feel this calmness rush over me. I have come to realize that just like Lady Bird, I’m not expected to know my place in the world just yet, that I am still young and naive, and that that’s okay. All I need to do is be grateful for the opportunities that present themselves and the people that are there along the way.

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Jocelyn Ortiz

Georgetown '18

Jocelyn is a Sophomore in the College majoring in "undecided" and minoring in "procrastination." When she's not creating playlists, she can be found running around campus with a tea latte in hand or stalking brunch places in DC on her phone.