You know on the first day of class when your professor asks you a random icebreaker question to get to know you better? If you’re like me, most of the time you freak out just a little because they’re either asking you about your favorite song or favorite TV show and you honestly have no idea what to say. Well, maybe I don’t have answers to those questions, but, if the professor were to ask what my favorite movie was, the anxieties that I usually feel would fade away because I would confidently have an answer; LadyBird. Yes, I know, if you are into movies like I am, LadyBird is a basic choice but, hold on, don’t criticize me quite yet until you understand why I love the movie so much.
The first time I saw LadyBird was in a local movie theater in my hometown. My friend and I attended a night showing of the movie and were two of maybe only six other people in the theater. We got popcorn and sodas and were excited to watch a highly praised, female directed movie. At this point in my life, I was around 17 years old and beginning to think about college. I had many insecurities and things going on in my head that I couldn’t really explain, as most 17 year olds experience. As I sat there in the theater, watching the movie for the first time, I could see a lot of myself in the main character, Christine (LadyBird), and it was a feeling that I don’t think I will ever forget.
Christine grew up in Sacramento, California. She hated it and wished for something bigger after college, like moving to a big city such as New York. I grew up in Asheville, North Carolina which is a beautiful, small town pinched between mountains and thriving with loads of pride and personality. Don’t get me wrong, I loved growing up in such a beautiful place but, ever since I was a teenager and had visited big cities like New York, LA, and DC, I knew that I wanted to experience a big city after high school. There’s a quote that I always think about in LadyBird when Christine is talking to her parents about where she wants to attend college. She says, “I hate California, I want to go to the East Coast. I want to go where culture is, like New York.” I remember hearing that quote while I was watching the movie and thinking about how I said basically those exact same words to my parents when I told them about my plans for the future.
I think a big part of the female experience is growing up and having an odd and rocky relationship with your mom. It’s almost like at times you’re best friends with your mom and other times it feels like you’re enemies and she will never quite understand you. In seeing the relationship Christine and her mom have in the movie, it gave me a certain comfort knowing that the mother-daughter relationship that was shown on screen was normal and there wasn’t anything wrong with my mom and I’s relationship. There’s a quote about mother-daughter relationships that I adore from the director of the movie, Greta Gerwig. She said “Well, I feel that their [Christine and her mother’s] relationship is such a rich relationship. It has a tremendous amount of love and a tremendous amount of angst. And I don't know any woman who has a simple relationship with their mother or with their daughter.” I think that perfectly sums up every mother and teenage daughter relationship, especially mine at the time.
At the end of the movie, Christine understands that all of her time in high school that she spent caring so much about what people thought about her and trying to become someone she wasn’t to impress people was unnecessary. She realized that the things that she once tried to change about herself were good enough just as they were and nothing to be ashamed of. In high school and even now sometimes, I struggled a lot with caring what others thought about me and I felt myself trying to fit into a mold that wasn’t who I was. Watching LadyBird and seeing a relatable storyline and struggles that teenage girls go through meant a lot to me and helped me feel less alone as I went through the rest of highschool.
As I’m sitting in bed, under my LadyBird poster writing this, I can’t help but smile. Sometimes the littlest things like movies can make you feel good and help you feel less alone. Sure, my love for a movie that came out three years ago may be silly to some people but, to me it’s a lot more than a movie; it’s an important part of my teenage years. Art, no matter what form it comes in, whether it’s music, movies, dance, etc., is a beautiful way to feel connected to people and the world around you. Thank you, Greta Gerwing for creating this wonderfully beautiful movie that I will always love and cherish.