Cert: 15 Runtime: 94 mins Director: Greta Gerwig Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothee Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein and Lois Smith
People go by the names their parents give them, but they don’t believe in God.
Greta Gerwig has evolved from actress to film-maker. The Frances Ha actress has given the world Lady Bird, a film that was 100% fresh for weeks. Not only the freshness, it has multiple award nominations and critical acclaim. During LFF I ignored watching it for the new 4K restoration of Suspria, to this day I don’t regret my decision. So what is Lady Bird about you ask? Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf), a nurse working tirelessly to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird’s father (Tracy Letts) loses his job. Set in Sacramento, California in 2002, amidst a rapidly shifting American economic landscape, Lady Bird is an affecting look at the relationships that shape us, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home.
This is one of the finest coming of age stories I have watched, but it it no Ghost World! The film’s brilliant balance of genuine emotional drama and laugh-out-loud humour is astonishingly smooth. This is easily one of the year’s best written films with strong structure throughout. Practically everything in the writing works to the quirky dialogue, realistic back and forth between characters, and our heroin’s progression and change throughout the story. Most will find the screenplay refreshingly original minus a few jokes that don’t land well with the characters themselves and therefore, the audience. As for the film-making I don’t think there is anything refreshing or new. But Gerwig’s voice within her context and dialogue make up for it.
The magic behind their performances it that it feels like it’s not a performance at all. Diving into realistic and genuine human emotions bring out the most humanistic side to these characters and each one goes above and beyond what was required of them. Saoirse Ronan does a great job as a rebellious yet empathetic teenager as her angst does feel like it comes from a genuine place. What I’ve always had issues in the past from coming of age films is they make the teenagers problems feel self inflicted, but instead her character is coming more from a place of needing to explore more in life. Laurie Metcalf and Tracy Letts are truly spectacular they both dominate different extremes of the parental spectrum. Metclaf in particular compliments Ronan so well. She is a pure stand out in Lady Bird. Lady Bird doesn’t reinvent the wheel of coming of age stories, however it does move with a lot of charm.
Cert: 15 Runtime: 95 mins Director: Ryan Gosling Cast: Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker, Saoirse Ronan, Matt Smith and Ben Mendelsohn
The wolves… if they’re not already at your door… they’re gonna be there very fuckin’ soon
Cannes 2014 gave Ryan Gosling’s directorial début some of the worst criticisms any film has received in it’s history. It’s been re-cut and fixed and it still suffering in the hands of the critics. What is the real issue here then? the critics? or Gosling? The fact Gosling has just gone straight into directing and writing has pissed a few critics off. Gosling has worked with some of the best directors in the world including Derek Cianfrance and Nicolas Winding Refn. Surely started to learn his craft while working in the industry? I really don’t want to get into this too much but it seems inevitable that this is the hot topic of the film. What is Lost River about then? Single mother Billy (Christina Hendricks) is struggling to pay the rent and keep a roof over the head of her teenage son Bones (Iain De Caestecker). So she accepts a work offer from her bank manager Dave (Ben Mendelsohn), who runs a bizarre club of creepy cabaret acts as a sideline. Meanwhile, Bones swoons hopelessly for the girl next door, Rat (Saoirse Ronan), and attempts to provide his mother with financial assistance by looting empty homes for valuable scrap metal. During one of these sorties, the teenage crosses paths with a psychopath aptly named Bully (Matt Smith).
It’s safe to say this is an admirable attempt by Ryan Gosling. He has taken various ideas from many film-makers like Winding Refn and David Lynch.It’s a mesmerizing modern gothic fairytale in the heartland of America. It’s very symbolistic of how the financial fall has effected lives in the states in my opinion. Families are struggling a lot, thus we have Billy finding work in a twisted club. Mother’s will go far in order too establish food and shelter for their kids. We have Bones struggling in making a life for himself as a young adult, there is no opportunities for him. Yet again we see the struggle of getting out of poverty. We see the rise of dangerous characters like Bully and Dave, they have power and money. This intimidates people, and they can buy fear and power. The use of the nightclub it truly shows the darker side of desire and fetish. If you have the money your darkest desires can come true. For me it truly is the nightmarish status of our society at the moment. It’s a timeless issue I understand this but I can relate this. The premise is great but it does slack in dialogue sometime. It can be very cheesy and cliché, but the dark undertone of Lost River helps that.
For a film about poverty stricken America, the visualization is very lavish and rich. Benoit Debie was a great choice mind you. It’s bright, vivid, focused and over indulgent, the viewer is just spoilt here the use of red and blue is fantastic. But for the type of film we are watching it should be much grainier and rougher in my opinion. Gosling’s imagery is a direct influence of Refn, for me if he intended on this he should of given it his own twist rather than just copy. Cinema will always be homages to the directorial great, there will always be copying and mimicking but you have to give it your own twist. The fact he has created this world is phenomenal, he gave the characters great depth and he established an interesting world. The score gave helps deliver the tone of the film, but yet again seems like a Refn score. His casting choices were great too, Christina Hendricks was a powerhouse of emotion. It’s her best work to date, since Mad Men is finishing this year I hope we will see more of her now. Iain De Caestecker is unknown to me, but he seemed like a younger Gosling role. But he was a great protagonist and developed well throughout. Matt Smith and Saoirse Ronan seemed rather underdeveloped but Smith was menacing along with Mendelhson. Gosling has a future in film-making I think. But he needs to learn his craft more and create his own stamp not copy and stitch other directors themes, methods and tones. But Lost River isn’t as bad as the critics say, don’t let them dictate your opinion on cinema. It’s an art form and should be judged by everyone not a minority.