By now you may have heard about the breakout hit Lady Bird, the first motion picture directed by actress/director Greta Gerwig and starring young standout, Saorise Ronan.
Lady Bird started to gain momentum in the media towards the end of 2017, when it became the first movie since Toy Story 2 (1999) to obtain the most consecutive fresh reviews, with zero rotten reviews against it on Rotten Tomatoes, with the film currently sitting with a rating of 99% positive reviews on the famed website.
Following the success of Lady Bird in the film critic community, the Golden Globes continued the success for the indie film, with Lady Bird winning Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical at the 2018 ceremony. The success of Lady Bird is not just limited to the film itself – with its leading lady, Saorise Ronan, winning Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical for this soon to be classic.
Set in 2002, the film revolves around the main character, the self-titled ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson (Saorise Ronan), who has grown up in sleepy Sacramento and dreams of moving away and making her own artistic imprint on the world. In her free time, outside of her small high school drama class, Lady Bird spends time with her friends and fighting with her mother, who can’t seem to accept her career choices, or any choices of hers for that matter.
Her mother, the controlling yet endearing Marion (Laurie Metcalf) tries to convince her daughter that going to college near their home is the best and only option for her, especially in a post 9/11 world. However the rebellious Lady Bird believes her future is in New York, despite her mother’s fear of the unknown. The relationship between mother and daughter in the turbulent years of late teen-hood is the basis for this story, showing the too-real tensions that arise and blow up in these years. Lady Bird pushes against her mother and finds refuge with her father Larry (Tracy Letts), and lashes out in self-destructive ways that are all too familiar to those of us who have battled through these growing pains ourselves.
Some of the hardest scenes to watch are those where Lady Bird is at a crossroads in her young life, and we as the audience are standing on the outside looking in. Saorise Ronan plays the lead character perfectly and as we watch her grow and graduate we, the audience, grow with her and see her discover that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
Ronan’s portrayal of the slightly awkward, abrupt Lady Bird is groundbreaking, not only because she portrays a strong female lead, but one who is unapologetically herself and aware of her desires; which she navigates and discovers largely by herself. Lady Bird is not just a coming-of-age film, but a feminist film, and it is so refreshing to see films created by women that tell the stories of women.
The film shows the traditional coming-of-age story in a raw light, showing those years of growth that are what make or break us, and the reality of going out into the big wild world as a young empowered woman. It leaves you feeling nostalgic, for all those times when we ourselves have grown and been at a crossroads in our life, but also powerful – because for all Lady Bird goes through, she endures – which is the true moral of this young woman’s story.
According to director Greta Gerwig, the first draft of her script was 350 pages long, which would equate to a movie nearly six hours long.