Lady Bird (2017)

Except for Frances Ha which I found dull and whose main character was annoying to say the least, I liked that little I've seen from Greta Gerwig and I couldn't wait to see Lady Bird, her directorial debut, especially since the high praise the film received.

The film is set in Sacramento in 2002 and revolves around Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) who has given herself the name of Lady Bird. She is a teenager who wants to get as far away as possible from her hometown, who struggles to get along with her overbearing mother (Laurie Metcalf) and isn't having it any easier at school or boys.

It's all been done before. It's the typical coming-of-age story with the typical clichés of teen dramas, the mother-daughter conflict, the high-school romances, the new friendships that are doomed to fail, the anguish of college admission and all that stuff. Also, not much happens.

But it being a very simple story is Lady Bird's greatest strength as it allows Gerwig to focus entirely on the titular character. Lady Bird is a strong, quirky, complex character who wants desperately to break free from her life. She doesn't seek for greatness, but for a life where she is appreciated simply for who she is. She is a complete person who is also very relatable. 

Lady Bird also has a mother and daughter relationship that is so intense and realistic it's upsetting. The dynamics between these two women, one growing up, the other already grown, is the core of the film. They both have such strong personalities and they have such an ability to get under each other's skin, but in spite of their conflicts, they love each other. Gerwig uses this love/hate relationship to say something very important, loving someone doesn't mean liking someone. There was this scene in a dressing room where Lady Bird is trying on dresses for prom. Her mother makes another negative comment, so Lady Bird asks her whether she likes her or not, and the mother replies, of course I love you, and Lady Bird asks, but do you like me? That's the scene that had the biggest impact on me. I could relate to that so much that I couldn't hold my tears.

A24, Focus Features
The acting is first class. Saoirse Ronan gives a sublime, emotionally-deep performance as Lady Bird as she brings such humanity, energy and charm to her character. Laurie Metcalf is perfect as the mother. She is described as warm but scary and Metcalf delivers that to perfection. The character is a little clichéd but she really elevates her. The supporting cast is also quite strong. Beanie Feldstein is delightful as Julie, Lady Bird's best friend, Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) is great as Danny, Lady Bird's first boyfriend. The character needed more complexity though.

All of that being said, Lady Bird isn't perfect. The whole friends and boyfriends subplot didn't really work for me. They were just clichéed and adding absolutely nothing to the film. Also, I didn't see it as a dramedy. Lady Bird is sweet and touching and touches a lot of important issues (and it made me cry several times) but it's not funny. At least it wasn't for me.


  1. Great review! I loved this so much, especially the mother/daughter plot. It just hit home. You're right about the boyfriends part being the weakest.

    1. Thanks! It was so close to being great, damn boyfriends!

  2. Great review! I didn't think I was going to like Lady Bird, but it surprised me, especially how many times I cried and related to some scenes. I agree - the first boyfriend subplot was okay, but the second one was random and dragged on a little too much. Other than that, Greta did a great job.

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. And yes, I did cry many times too.