Friday, November 24, 2017

[Review] Lady Bird


The great Greta Gerwig makes her directorial debut with the comedy-drama Lady Bird. It stars Saoirse Ronan, who's coming off of her Oscar-nominated performance in Brooklyn. And let me just say: everything about this film is brilliant.

Meet Christine (Ronan), or, excuse me -- "Lady Bird" (that's what she demands to be called). She's a Catholic high school student with a streak of defiance (and I'm not just talking about the pinkish hair dye), aspiring to leave her hometown of Sacramento to attend college somewhere on the East Coast, despite her parents' wishes. The story follows Lady Bird though her senior year and all the complications, uncertainties, and revelations that come with it.

This gem is spunked with a consistently delightful energy, and it's immensely well-written -- the characters are wildly memorable and the dialogue is clever and chuckle-worthy. It's the little details too -- like the Christian homecoming dance scene where you can hear "Crossroads" by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony in the background. And speaking of crossroads, the narrative tackles plenty of familiar coming-of-age conundrums. It actually reminded me a lot of last year's The Edge of Seventeen and even 2013's Enough Said, and that's definitely a compliment. This is a love letter to home, family, friendship, first loves (or so one thinks), and the things we take for granted. The film is especially affecting when it explores Lady Bird's crackling and complex relationship with her mother, who's terrifically played by Laurie Metcalf. The ever-consistent Tracy Letts plays Lady Bird's father, while Lucas Hedges (Oscar nominee from last year's tearjerker Manchester By the Sea) plays her theater boyfriend.

And then of course there's Saoirse Ronan, who's sensational again here, displaying her magnetic versatility. This character is so vibrant, and so chalked with bold personality and dimension. There's that almost intangible element, where she constantly reveals layers and experiences transformation -- but still retains exactly what makes her who she is. That's Christine, er, I mean Lady Bird. Or is it both?

* 9/10 *


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