5/5 – I know this started as a book blog, but movies are my first love. When I was younger, I wanted to be a director and dreamed of winning an Oscar for my acclaimed film in the life of a queer teenager. So whenever a coming-of-age story comes along, I’m interested. Usually, they come in the form of movies directed toward a younger audience. They are often sanitized and something doesn’t quite feel authentic about it. The movie Edge of Seventeen got a lot of praise because it felt more real and the teenagers swore. Gasp! Yes, most teenagers swear. I know I did. It’s hard to connect to movies that don’t present things in an authentic way, and Lady Bird was incredibly authentic.
For those who might not have heard of this movie, it stars Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. (Both of them have been nominated for a Golden Globe award. Update: Saoirse Ronan won best actress in a musical or comedy, it was well deserved. Update Update: Both are nominated for Oscars.) As of right now, December 2017, it is the best-reviewed movie on Rotten Tomatoes. It maintains 100% on the site with nearly 200 reviews. This means that every critic gave the movie a “Fresh” or positive rating. Rotten Tomatoes scores should be taken with a grain of salt, but this movie has broken a record that was previously set by Toy Story 2.
That’s not the reason I saw this movie. It’s because of Saoirse Ronan. I have been a fan of hers for years, one of her first film roles was in Atonement and even though I couldn’t sit through that movie, I’ve seen her in other movies. She’s a fantastic actress and she’s got a long career ahead of her. She shines so brightly in this movie as a senior in her last year of high school. She’s snarky, funny, rebellious, curious, and plenty of other adjectives. Otherwise known as a complex character. Christine, aka “Lady Bird” deals with a lot over the course of her senior year. She attends a Catholic school because her mother refuses to put her in a public school and this becomes an interesting backdrop for her character. She has two romantic interests that end up not working out and she struggles with her role at a school where most of the students are from wealthier families. She lies to fit in and is bold in the way she approaches people. Personally, I thought she was an excellent character.
This movie takes place in Sacramento, dubbed “the Midwest of California” in the movie. While I have not personally been there, I felt like Gerwig did a great job of giving us the sense of what it was like. It was a place you wanted to be free from and yet were nostalgic for at the same time.
I think the reason I enjoyed this movie so much was the relationship between Lady Bird and her mother. I am very close with my mother. It was just us when I was growing up and there were many times when we only had each other. When I was close to graduating high school we fought all the time. There were times when our relationship was really tense. The same is portrayed in Lady Bird. For example, Lady Bird wants nothing more than to leave Sacramento while her mother is insistent on her going to college nearby. There is also an issue of money. Her father gets laid off and her mother works her ass off to support five people. It’s a struggle. They struggle and more than once, Lady Bird becomes aware of things she doesn’t know because she’s not paying attention. She’s focused on herself. It’s one of those things where Lady Bird doesn’t realize how much her mother (and father) do for her until near the end of the movie. Things were really emotional toward the end and I thought I might cry. The ending gave me hope that everything was going to be fine for the two of them.
I’d also like to say that I’ve only seen Laurie Metcalf, who plays Lady Bird’s mom, on Roseanne and she was fantastic in this movie. There was so much she said without dialogue. At one point, just a look had people laughing. The two actresses worked really well together and you could almost believe this relationship between a mother and daughter was real.
For me, a great movie is one that sucks you into its world and convinces you that you are there. All of the characters felt real. The relationships felt real. The highs and lows felt real. There is no doubt in my mind this is a great movie. I adored the characters and loved escaping into their lives for an hour and a half. If you get a chance, go out and see it. You don’t have to be a film lover to enjoy this movie, and I think it brings an authenticity to something that is often meant to help us escape.