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Lady Bird is a coming-of-age film written and directed by Greta Gerwig and stars Stephen McKinley Henderson, Lois Smith, Beanie Feldstein, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Tracy Letts, Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan. The story of the film is set in Sacremento, Califorinia in the early 2000s and focuses on Christine (Saoirse Ronan), a high-school senior who goes by the name of ‘Lady Bird’. She clashes with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) about her future.
My Knowledge and Expectation of Lady Bird
On paper, everything about Lady Bird sounded terrific. For one, I love coming-of-age films. In recent years, films such as The Edge of Seventeen, Boyhood and The Perks of Being a Wallflower now rank amongst the best coming-of-age films I have ever seen. For whatever reason, it is a genre of film that I gravitate to and the fact that Lady Bird was nominated for five Oscars increased my expectations about the quality of the film.
As well as being nominated for Best Picture, both Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf were nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress respectively. From this, I expected that the acting in Lady Bird would be brilliant. This went for the entire cast, not just from Ronan and Metcalf. Certainly, Lucas Hedges and Timothée Chalamet are incredibly talented actors and impressed me with their work in Manchester by the Sea and Call Me By Your Name respectively. I hoped to see more of the same from these two in Lady Bird.
Before I saw Lady Bird, the only film nominated for Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars that made me feel like it completely deserved its nomination was The Post. I hoped that Lady Bird would impress me to the same degree that The Post did. I was expecting great things from this film.
My Thoughts on Lady Bird
I thought Lady Bird was absolutely terrific. Everything about this film felt authentic and genuine. Greta Gerwig partly based this film off her own experiences growing up in Sacramento and you can tell that this film came from the heart. While a coming-of-age film is going to have scenes and/or dialogue that are a bit cringe-worthy, nothing in Lady Bird ever felt forced or out of place. I had such a great time watching this film, especially when it came to the performances.
Saoirse Ronan was fantastic in the lead role and fully deserving of her nomination for Best Actress but I have to admit that, for me, Laurie Metcalf stole the entire film. She was so real and natural with her performance and, while I still have not seen Allison Janney’s performance in I, Tonya, I struggle to see how anything could eclipse what Laurie Metcalf did in Lady Bird.
The mother-daughter relationship was amazing and what Metcalf and Ronan brought to it made their relationship one of the strongest aspects of Lady Bird. I also thought that Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges and Timothée Chalamet were all very good in the film as well.
Funny and Sad Moments
Another strength of Lady Bird was the humour which was spot-on for a film like this. Certain lines of dialogue in the film and situations some of the characters found themselves in made for some really funny moments. Yet, at the same time, there were some incredibly sad moments too whether it was with Stephen McKinley Henderson’s character or with Lucas Hedges character. You need these types of moments in a coming-of-age film and I thought they were all executed very well.
I also have to say that the use of ‘Crash Into Me’ by Dave Matthews Band throughout the film was something that really pulled me into Lady Bird as it is one of my favourite songs. All of the things which I have mentioned above made me full in love with the film and, as I watched the credits roll, I could not help but feel that the ending, while abrupt, felt right and the character arc that Christine went through in Lady Bird came full circle.
My Final Thoughts on Lady Bird
Lady Bird and The Post were the two films nominated for Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars that were, for me, worthy nominees. Now that I think about it, I believe that Lady Bird should have won the award. I never thought either one would win Best Picture as The Shape of Water was the clear favourite. Still, I was rooting for an upset and I hope, in the years to come, that Lady Bird will be seen as one of the best coming-of-age films that has come out in recent times.
Clearly, I would highly recommend this film to anyone who loves coming-of-age films and wants to see exceptional acting as well as a superb directorial debut from Greta Gerwig. I hope to see more of her in the years to come when it comes to directing films.
Thank you for reading this review! You can find my other articles here on Soapbox as well as my reviews which you can also find at my blog theturnertalks.com.