Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird follows artistically inclined seventeen-year-old Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), a senior at a Catholic high school in Sacramento in 2002, who is desperate to move on from her hometown and fights against everything her deeply opinionated and strong-willed mum (Laurie Metcalf) encourages. With her mother working double shifts as a nurse and her father (Tracy Letts) having lost his job, such real-world problems aren’t really on Lady Bird’s radar, especially when there are boys like Danny (Lucas Hedges) and Kyle (Timothée Chalamet) to chase after.
Lady Bird captures the transition from adolescence to adulthood perfectly in this deeply engaging coming-of-age story full of fantastic performances.
It’s a story that many viewers will easily relate to. For me, personally, I remember feeling a lot of what Saoirse Ronan‘s character is going through in the years before I went to university 300 miles away from home. You feel so grown up at the time, but then you look back at this and realise that you were far from it. It’s such a brilliant age to explore the headspace of a female, on the cusp of so much, eager to move far away and prove yourself to others. But no matter how far you run, you’re home will always be your home, and you will always find yourself running back to your mum in times of comfort.
Lady Bird’s character is incredibly relatable, but the relationship with her mum is explored just as well. Ronan and Laurie Metcalf play their characters brilliantly and their turbulent mother-daughter bond comes across with great emotion. It’s a relationship that’s bound to come to blows during this time of a teenager’s life, but I also love that you can see how alike these two characters because, whilst you never want to be like your mother at the age, you will always realise a few years later that there’s no escaping it. It’s something you learn to embrace rather than resent, and you can already see this happening between these two characters.
These engaging characteristics and well-developed relationships are all due to the delicate and meticulous way that Greta Gerwig has crafted this story. Gerwig definitely has a strong and recognisable voice, but she is usually known for her boldness. Her directorial debut, however, is a much more toned down and warmer example of her work, which is why it will broadly resonate with so many viewers. Although the themes that Gerwig explores have been looked into many times before, Lady Bird still feels completely fresh. It’s a fantastic directorial effort from Gerwig and she’s definitely going to ensure that more women are recognised for their talent and work in the film industry with films like this.
The supporting roles from Lucas Hedges and Timothée Chalamet are excellent, as well, two other rising young talents who are doing some phenomenal work lately.