Lady Bird is another film that I saw during my Portland movie spree the week after Thanksgiving. And like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, it's one that I neglected to blog about until after it starting scooping up awards.
PLOT - Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) is finishing her final year of high school and life is uncertain. She attends a Catholic school in Sacramento and although she is academically average, she has big aspirations and is artistically inclined. She longs to move to New York, escaping her small town, including her lower-middle class home. As she finishes up her senior year, she has to come to terms with the realities of her life, including her parent's financial difficulties and that she might not always get what she wants, even if her dreams are big.
LIKE- Lady Bird was uncomfortably relatable. Much like the main character, I was desperate to go away to New York for college and had no idea how much of a financial strain it would be for my single mom. Like Christine, ( aka Lady Bird, a self-imposed name) I couldn't quite understand how something that I wanted so badly, might not be a possibility. The biggest heartache is seeing the situation through the perspective of Christine's parents, Marion (Laurie Metcalf) and Larry (Tracy Letts), who don't want to disappoint their daughter. Watching Lady Bird, I felt a rekindled guilt over putting my mom through the stress of trying to figure out how to financially pay for an East Coast liberal arts college ( which she did pay for and I didn't finish.) I wish that my mom was still alive, so that I could watch Lady Bird with her and thank her for all that she did for me, including putting up with during my teen years!
Christine's final year of high school is filled with minor dramas. Her closest friend Julie ( Beanie Feldstein) is picked for the lead role in the school musical, playing opposite of Christine's boyfriend, something that Christine struggles to handle with grace. Christine befriends a popular girl, as a way of rebelling. Her life feels very much beyond her control and she acts out as a result.
DISLIKE- Not a true dislike, because Lady Bird is a charming and affecting movie, but much of the story was fairly cliche. I still very much enjoyed it, primary because of the wonderful characters and realistic portrayal of being a teenager. For better or worse, it took me right back to that awkward time of my life. I also liked Greta Gerwig's writing, even if the overall story and themes are well-trodden.
RECOMMEND- Yes! Lady Bird is full of marvelous performances and great characters. It's definitely one of the top movies of the year, although not in my top five. It's certainly worthy of watching, but more of a rental, than a film that you should rush out and see. Have tissues handy.