FOUR STARS A teenage girl is ready for a new life - if only her mother would get out of her way...
Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf
COMEDY DRAMA #LADYBIRD
Lady Bird is Christine McPherson’s given name. “I gave it to myself, it’s given to me by me,” said the teenager to her drama teacher. Thus the tone is set for this quirky yet endearing character drama and first feature from quirky yet endearing character actress turned director, Greta Gerwig (MAGGIE’S PLAN and FRANCES HA)
In regard to Lady Bird’s given name there is no argument, a central tenant in a film that rides on discourse and heated discussion, notably between daughter and mother (ROSEANNE’s Laurie Metcalf). They’re constantly at odds with one another yet deep down it’s clear there’s an abiding love which would be so much better expressed if only they could each find a way to stop pressing the other’s button. Good luck with that.
This is a coming of age tale about a teenager who yearns for all the the things any young, wise, talented, sophisticate does - not being at home. It’s charm - and LADY BIRD has it in spades - rests in Gerwig’s talent in making the story universal, and Saoirse Ronan’s ability to make us believe it. Neither resort to cliches or hysterics, and the film is a superior telling for it.
The real pleasure lies in the relationship between Lady Bird and her mother as channelled through Ronan and Metcalf’s extraordinary performances. They’re both snarky and sincere, funny and loving, tight and bitchy, or put another way, normal. And it’s this sense of normality set to the loose rhythms of late adolescence that makes LADY BIRD fly: it’s both refreshingly ordinary and honestly extraordinary - all at once. It’s a rare treat.