Directed by: Greta Gerwig | 94 minutes | comedy, drama | Actors: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Lois Smith, Stephen Henderson, Odeya Rush, Jordan Rodrigues, Marielle Scott, John Karna, Jake McDorman, Bayne Gibby, Laura Marano, Marietta DePrima, Daniel Zovatto, Kristen Cloke, Andy Buckley
Her name is Christine but she calls herself Lady Bird. You have to do something, as a 17-year-old red-haired post-adolescent in the drab city of Sacramento. Not only her city is drowsy, but also her father, brother, sister-in-law, classmates, teachers, who isn’t really. Her mother is already a complete disaster, says Christine, apologies, Lady Bird. She is the first to admit that her school results are not optimal, but she has big plans. Get out of Sacramento and off to college in America’s much hipper eastern part. And while our rebellious heroine makes plans, she neglects her best friend, her parents get into financial trouble and runs into some boys who just don’t have it.
This cheerful and touching coming-of-age story brings two of America’s greatest talents together. We know director Greta Gerwig as an actress in top films such as ‘Francis Ha’ and ’20th Century Women’. Actress Saoirse Ronan (‘Atonement’, ‘Brooklyn’) is pretty much the top of her generation with Elle Fanning. Then the supporting roles are still well played and the film breathes the attractive environment of Irish America. That should all be fine, right?
That’s it. ‘Lady Bird’ is a coming-of-age with all the familiar elements (quarrel with parent, first time sex, getting drunk, crush on the cool bass player of a hip band) but the effect is above average. Humor and drama alternate smoothly, the dialogues are very strong, the secondary characters are slightly more striking than usual and we have already talked about the acting.
In tone, humor and intelligence, ‘Lady Bird’ is close to a film like ‘Juno’. But where ‘Juno’ is about pregnancy troubles, ‘Lady Bird’ is a film about the need for solid roots (family, friends, church and city). That theme is never on top of it, but hides under all those moving, cheerful and silly scenes and shines through the doomed attempts of our heroine to escape precisely those roots. to flee her mother. To flee oneself.
With ‘Lady Bird’ Greta Gerwig has delivered an excellent debut that leaves you with a continuous smile on your face. That the choice for such a coming-of-age drama might be a bit safe? That Ronan has the traits and age to go for a heavier role? Correct. And no reason at all to skip this movie.