Lady Bird is not your average coming-of-age film. In fact, it’s so wonderfully and exceptionally un-average that it has recently broke the Rotten Tomatoes record for the most favorably reviewed movie on their site to date.
Lady Bird was written and directed by Greta Gerwig, a multi-talented young filmmaker who has collaborated on other notable and critically praised films such as Frances Ha. In Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig has excelled in crafting a teenage dramedy that feels as if it has been owed to audiences, young ones especially, for decades. The characters and situations are authentic and believable. None of the dialogue or plot is sacrificed for the sake of creating a typical “indie” looking or feeling film. In place of what could have easily been faux quirky conversations between inauthentic teen characters that are denied of any realness, Gerwig thoughtfully weaved raw, realistic, and at times touchingly painful dialogue between characters that you swiftly come to feel like you know and love. Gerwig has claimed that although it is semi-autobiographical, none of the events of the film literally took place in her adolescence.
Lady Bird tells the story of Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, a fiercely independent Catholic school senior in Sacramento in 2002. Lady Bird is in the midst of sorting through her tumultuous relationship with her mother while also navigating the balance of chasing her dreams at an East Coast liberal arts school and accepting the reality that her financial and academic ability may only be able to allow her into a city college. Lady Bird sorts through the trials and tribulations her first relationships and manages her relationship with her long term best friend as they go through phases of change. Most importantly, Lady Bird grapples with how to cope with her mother’s strong attitude while still learning how to love her as well. The characters featured are not perfect-and that’s what’s endearing about them. They are so well written and well directed that Lady Bird is elevated to a status of cinema that a coming-of-age teenage dramedy would normally seldom be able to do.
Every movie-goer can take a valuable lesson away from Lady Bird. Whether that be a reminder of our parent’s mere human existence and how they are, at times, only doing their absolute best. Or a reminder of how there is a time and place to take life seriously, and treat those who are there for you with respect and equal admiration. Lady Bird proves that no matter the subject, any film can resonate with entire demographics of audiences as long as it’s crafted as carefully and skillfully as Lady Bird is. It is beautiful in its simplicity, honesty, and lack of gimmicks. Lady Bird will serve as a gold standard for female-driven films for centuries to come.