We Are All Lady Bird

Lady Bird is a film that knows how to break your heart and then heal it all on its own. It stars Saoirse Ronan, Lucas Hedges, Timotheé Chalamet and Beanie Feldstein all who give breakout performances as the youth of Sacramento, California in 2002. Lady Bird, played by Saoirse Ronan, is an enigma of a teenage girl who has a complicated relationship with her mom and with herself. “Lady Bird” is the name she has given herself and demands that everyone call her that. We are never given an explanation of the origin of this name and we don’t need one either, her name is simply Lady Bird. This movie is so matter of fact that it feels as if you’re watching someone’s memories of high school rather than a feature film. Lady Bird not only reminds you of high school but it takes you back to specific moments and you can’t help but see yourself in these characters.

 

Even though it’s a movie about a teenage girl transitioning from senior year of high school to a college freshman, it’s not just about Lady Bird it’s also about everyone around her. There’s a bit of each of these characters in all of us. This film, more than any other, really shows us how divisive the people in our lives can be and how that affects us forever. Julie, played by Beanie Feldstein, is Lady Bird’s best friend but she’s not like every other ‘best friend’ character that is portrayed in most movies. Julie is a person of her own, she has feelings and opinions and she loves Lady Bird but isn’t afraid to call her out when she’s in the wrong. Julie is sweet and compassionate, she’s the best friend we had in high school that we all took for granted. Lucas Hedges, who last year was nominated for an academy award for his role in Manchester by the Sea, plays Lady Bird’s first boyfriend who she meets during the school musical. His character evolves throughout the movie as Lady Bird accidently finds him kissing another boy in the bathroom. Lucas’s character “Danny” has to then come out to Lady Bird and reveal his fear and shame of being who he is. Danny’s struggle to come out as gay and protect himself from scrutiny by being in a relationship with Lady Bird is something that we still see in our friends today. We can even relate to Timotheé Chalamet’s character “Kyle”, the cool guy at school who plays blase and doesn’t like to “participate in the economy”. Kyle is the guy we all had a crush on but then soon found out that he’s just an asshole kid.

Lady Bird is also a compilation of love stories. Its Lady Bird and her mom, its Lady Bird and her gay boyfriend, its Lady Bird and Julie, its Lady Bird and Sacramento. One of the most interesting parts of this film is the relationship with Lady Bird and her home town. There’s an immense feeling of fleeting when you are a senior applying to colleges and this film captures that moment in our lives with such care and attention. We are all anxious to get out of the place where we have lived our whole lives and to move on to a bigger and better world. This moment is filled with great anxiety about the future and who we will be; Lady Bird wants to go somewhere where there is “culture” like New York but her family’s financial circumstance is making that a challenge for her. With the help of her dad Lady Bird is able to obtain financial aid and get into a school in New York but none of this is made easy for her. She has to fight for her future and does'nt let her mom stop her from pursuing more.

Lady Bird’s relationship with her mom is all too familiar to us too. They fight and they disagree but they love each other endlessly. Lady Bird’s plight with her mom is mainly that they misunderstand each other. Laurie Metcalf plays Lady Bird’s mother and her character knows how to break both of their hearts with her words, but that doesn’t mean she believes it. When Lady Bird expresses to her mom that she wants to go away to college her mom treats her as if she’s not good enough nor smart enough to achieve that. This part of the film breaks you a little because we see that Lady Bird is trying so hard to be a good daughter and her mom just does'nt see that nor does she support her. When Lady Bird asks her mom if she likes her as a person, she simply replies that she loves her and that she’s just not the best version of herself yet. At an age where we are incredibly vulnerable to the things people say to us, this is a scene that changes you. To be Lady Bird in that moment, we too feel the lost and frustration with our mothers and their relentless criticism of who we are. When Metcalf’s character comes to the realization that she has made a mistake by not settling things with Lady Bird before it was too late, it’s distressful yet effective in once again, breaking our hearts.

Greta Gerwig wrote and directed this film with such attention and affection that it may be the most relatable film about being a teenage girl in America that I've ever seen. Saoirse delivers this performance poignantly from head to toe. She has a bit of acne and her nails are'nt always perfect, she lies to boys to make her seem more clever than she is, she shoplifts magazines from the grocery store and tells her dad to drop her off a block away from school so that no one see’s how “uncool” she is. Lady Bird is slightly clueless about the world and her future in it, nevertheless the strives forward with full force and is unapologetically herself. Lady Bird is the girl we all wanted to be, the girl we admired, and some of us were this exact person.