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.