Lady Bird: The Perfect film for International Women’s Day

Ladybird and Julie

*Contains Spoilers*

Lady Bird is the new coming of age film that everyone is talking about, critics and audience alike, notably receiving a stellar Rotten Tomatoes score of 99%. Despite leaving the Oscars empty-handed, Lady Bird has been recognised as not only the solo-directorial debut of Greta but the first truly feminist coming of age film.

As well as incredibly successful director Gerwig, who is only the fifth woman to be nominated the best director in the ninety years of Oscar history, Lady Bird boasts a collection of self-determined, successful women within the cast. Saoirse Ronan plays the fiery yet lovable lead Lady Bird, alongside supporting actresses Beanie Feldstein, as best friend Julie, and Laurie Metcalf, as Lady Bird’s mother Marion. The spectacular performance of these women, amongst others within the cast and crew, as well as the endearing narrative centring on female dynamics, makes Lady Bird the perfect film to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Lady Bird and Danny

Based in Sacramento, California 2002, the film focusses on the life of 17-year-old high school student Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, capturing her last experiences of school before going to college the following year. Throughout the film, Lady Bird is very sure of her identity, choosing to be called Lady Bird as opposed to Christine. However, this certainty is constantly challenged through the battles Lady Bird faces as an adolescent. Described by Ronan as a photo album of memories, Gerwig explores a series of typical high school events from the uncertainty of college applications, Lady Bird’s first boyfriends and the joys of school dances with her best friend.

However, beneath these seemingly ordinary coming of age tropes, Gerwig interlaces more complex themes such as the economic realities of a post 9/11 America, the constant issue of social class pertaining to likability and the difficulties of navigating a mother and daughter relationship. Through these deeper concerns, Gerwig moves the emphasis away from Lady Bird’s personal dramas, extending empathy to others in the film, such as her parent’s financial struggle, and her father’s problems with mental health.

Kyle

Lady Bird’s sense of determination, despite her setbacks makes her a lovable yet relatable character. She isn’t defined by her relationships with boys, yet she experiences the joys of first love with Danny, (Lucas Hedges) and the heartbreak of falling for bad boy Kyle (Timothée Chalamet), like any other school girl. Her desire to be popular at school, a struggle familiar to so many, leads to tensions with her best friend Julie, and despite later reconciliation, Gerwig perfectly captures the realities of fragmented friendships.

The film truly explores the tensions within a mother-daughter relationship throughout, Gerwig using ordinary scenes such as arguments whilst thrift shopping to highlight their inability to communicate, yet deep connection they still feel shown when they find the perfect dress together. We continually see Lady Bird’s mother Marion, work multiple shifts as a nurse to provide for her family in addition to her scenes with Lady Bird. This allows the viewer to empathise with Lady Bird’s mother and understand her struggles, contrary to typical of coming of age films, that increasingly encourage the viewer to side with the young protagonist. It is a real joy to see the way the two connect despite their strong characters, and differences, a true depiction of the realities of family relationships.

Ladybird and mother

Gerwig also forms a comedic, yet sophisticated impression of Catholic school life, not reducing it to simple jokes for entertainment but weaving it into Lady Bird’s general desire to move away from Sacramento. Although many scenes make light of religion, such as nuns suggesting to “leave room for the Holy Spirit” when dancing with boys at a school dance, or eating unconsecrated communion wafers; Lady Bird’s turn to religion near the end of the film gives an alternative take. Lady Bird no longer dismisses religion, rather she finds comfort in it, reminding her of home, again considering the deeper issues such as the adolescent struggle with faith in the context of the teenage desire to rebel.

Gerwig’s Lady Bird feels entirely genuine with well developed, complex characters, strong attention to authentic details and creative cinematography,  producing a comprehensive and thoroughly enjoyable look at teenage life in the early noughties through the eyes of  Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson.

Hope you enjoyed reading something a bit different on the blog, I absolutely adored this film and would wholly recommend it. I really enjoyed writing this review so hopefully, I’ll get round to writing similar posts soon!

Emma rasp

One Comment Add yours

  1. Emily Kitsch says:

    I’m definitely going to check this movie out, it sounds amazing and your review is wonderful! 🙂

    Like

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