“… truly managed to capture what it is like to grow up, warts and all, and I really respect it for that.”
Yesterday I saw Lady Bird and it effortlessly cemented itself as one of the best films of the year. I know I’ve been saying that a lot lately, but I guess with Oscar season coming up all of the good movies were just waiting to be released. Lady Bird broke records by becoming the highest reviewed movie on Rotten Tomatoes, and it deserves it. Lady Bird is a coming of age story about Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, a teenage girl from Sacramento.
So let’s just get this out of the way: Lady Bird is a coming of age story specifically about a teenage girl. That being said, it is easily the most relatable coming of age story I have ever seen in my life. Despite some issues being gender-specific, I could relate to almost every single thing tackled in Lady Bird, and that gave it a very real quality. The level on which I connected with Lady Bird was almost painful at times, and I was in constant awe at how well the period of ‘teenager on the cusp of adulthood’ was captured. Now on top of being relatable, Lady Bird might also be one of the funniest movies of the year. Once again a lot of this comedy comes from just how real the movie is with the audience being able to remember situations not unlike the ones in the movie and laugh to themselves, but it’s also just really fucking funny. The closest thing I could compare Lady Bird to would be something like Napoleon Dynamite. Like Napoleon Dynamite, Lady Bird gives us a very detailed look at a rather small, very quirky town. But unlike Napoleon Dynamite, Lady Bird manages to keep one foot firmly in reality. Though a lot of the dialogue in the film is hilarious, you laugh at how relatable it is not at how ridiculous it is. Does that make sense? And what really brings Lady Bird to the next level is the film’s ability to make you laugh, while also dealing with some very dark subjects. I don’t know if I’ve ever watched a movie where I was laughing my ass off one scene, and then the next scene holding my breath in shock not wanting to miss a single second of dialogue. This once again brought Lady Bird as close to reality as it could get, and it made sure to press almost every single one of my buttons. But like, not in a weird way. I just wanted to make sure that didn’t come across as weird, because it kind of sounded weird. It was just a really good movie, okay?
Now in my opinion creating a movie that is as relatable and realistic as Lady Bird is like capturing lightning in a bottle; but that’s not to say that every effort made by the people working on this movie was moot. First of all, I found the writing in Lady Bird to be brilliant. Not only did it bring a lot of laughs, but it also tackled really mature issues that (however much we may dislike them) are a part of every day life. One example of great writing I can give would be the way the conversations in Lady Bird flowed. When watching a movie most characters don’t speak over each other to allow room for the audience to understand what is being said; Lady Bird kind of did way with this. Now it wasn’t as ‘in-your-face’ as I may lead you to believe, but it was natural. Sometimes people talk over one another, it’s just life. It’s moments like these that made Lady Bird a really endearing movie. I also thought the ‘clip-show’-esque editing was really effective. Lady Bird covers a fairy large portion of the main character’s life, so this editing/storytelling style really allowed the audience to feel time progressing while also feel as though they weren’t missing anything. It was also really reminiscent of the way the humans remember things. I can’t tell you what I did every minute of every day last year, but I can give you the highlights. This once again creates this sense of realism in Lady Bird that was astounding. But really the thing I’m most impressed with in Lady Bird were the performances. Now I want to get the usual shit out of the way by saying that I had no idea Saoirse Ronan could act as well as she did in this movie. I’m not poking fun or anything, I just don’t really follow her work and was legitimately surprised by how great she was as Lady Bird. I also want to praise everyone else in the film for creating a very realistic world. All of the other teenagers, Lady Bird’s family, all of them came together to create a world that was a spitting image of real life. But even though all of that was amazing, it wasn’t what kept in in awe when watching Lady Bird; no, what did that was the relationship Lady Bird had with her mother. Now I don’t come from a “complete” home so I couldn’t really relate to a lot oft family stuff going on, but I couldn’t help but be struck with how similar my relationship with my mom was to Lady Bird’s relationship to hers. Like I’m talking, almost identical. The scene that really got me was toward the beginning of the film when the two of them were in the car listening to an audiobook. When it ended, both of them with tears in their eyes were talking happily about what an experience they had shared together. And then just like that, as if someone had flipped a switch, they were fighting. Now this fight ends with Lady Bird leaping from a moving car (which is something I can’t say I’ve ever done), but the moments leading up to that were almost as if they were ripped straight from my life. The performances given by both Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf (who played Marion McPherson) were absolutely breathtaking in just how realistic they were. Now of course there were other moments throughout the film that showcased the acting abilities of both of them, but it was always the scenes that they shared together that kept me on the edge of my seat. It’s moments like that, the ones that most “real” movies don’t show, that make Lady Bird something really special. Lady Bird truly managed to capture what it is like to grow up, warts and all, and I really respect it for that.
Over all Lady Bird is easily one of the best movies of the year. Not only it is absolutely hilarious, but it captures reality in such a way that you wonder at times if the movie screen has been replaced by a mirror. Not like an actual mirror, because Lady Bird doesn’t show footage of people sitting a movie theatre, but like a metaphorical mirror. My stupidity aside, Lady Bird is a movie that everyone should go and see.
I give Lady Bird an A