Dear Greta Gerwig: Thank You

When I saw Lady Bird with my older sister over Thanksgiving break, I wasn’t expecting to find a film that touched my heart as much as it did. Having gone to a Catholic all-girls high school and having grown up in a city that’s generally classified as unremarkable by outsiders but that I love with my whole heart, as I watched Lady Bird, I felt like I was looking into a mirror. When Lady Bird and her best friend sit hidden in a rectory, snacking on unconsecrated communion wafers, I remembered last year when a group of girls at my own high school found a bag of unconsecrated hosts shoved underneath the cushion of a couch in the main hallway. When Lady Bird found her happiness onstage in her school’s production of Merrily We Roll Along, put on with the male students from the adjacent all-boys school, I remembered the countless times I stood on stage with my best friends (who went to both my all-girls high school and the all-boys high school adjacent to my own). In watching Lady Bird, I was able to feel like I was seeing myself on screen in a way I never had before—and I truly believe that it’s all due to the film’s amazing writer and director, Greta Gerwig.

 

Greta Gerwig was the sole writer and director for the film. Throughout its entirety, the female characters (the main characters, might I add) were all three-dimensional and real. Though Lady Bird had two love interests throughout the film, she was never there simply to serve as a point of character development for the boys. Lady Bird remained her own person, and throughout the film she grew as her own person. It’s phenomenal to be able to see women portrayed first and foremost as human beings.

 

Lady Bird is truly a masterpiece, and along with it are so many films that are also pushing boundaries for diversity and inclusion within the film industry. So many people have called out the system, and the system is changing for the better because of it. We as consumers, along with those who work in film, are bringing about such important change. Now, more than ever, we can see in a concrete way the representation matters. To see ourselves on screen as real people with real lives and real interests is groundbreaking. Though Lady Bird did not win any Oscars this year, so many other films that showcase diversity were recognized. Disney’s Coco won the award for best-animated feature. Jordan Peele’s Get Out—a film that literally calls out casual racism!—won best original screenplay. The film that won best live action short, called The Silent Child, was about a deaf child, and in her acceptance speech screenwriter and actress, Rachel Shenton signed part of her acceptance speech. So, to those who continue breaking boundaries in what tends to be an industry dominated by white men, thank you.

 

On a more personal level, to Greta Gerwig: thank you for giving me a film to laugh at, to cry at, and in which to see myself. Thank you for offering me comfort through your film as I felt lost during my first semester of college. Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything Lady Bird brings to the table.