lady_bird_ver2A generation much younger than mine will surely look at Lady Bird and think of it as their The Breakfast Club. That’s how much I loved this movie. And to make it even better, it doesn’t rely on an eighty-five-year-old Judd Nelson pretending to be sixteen. Huzzah!

Saoirse Ronan, fast becoming one of my most favorite actors, plays the titular teenaged Lady Bird, a name she gives herself to replace the far more everyday Christine that her parents thought to give her. Sheldon’s mom, Laurie Metcalf, plays her mother. Laurie Metcalf is also excellent. I kinda love Laurie Metcalf. No, that’s not right. I love Laurie Metcalf. From the opening scene, we understand everything we need to know about their relationship. On a drive somewhere, they’ve been listening to the audiobook of The Grapes of Wrath. They share a tear together, and then fall into a horrendously bitter argument that ends with Lady Bird throwing herself out of the moving car.

There’s little plot beyond that, as such, and the story as it exists is based around Lady Bird’s final year of high school, how her relationships change and she grows up. Lady Bird longs to move from her Sacramento hometown to attend college on the East Coast. She hates her home life. She thinks she deserves better. She thinks that her family should appreciate this. She’s embarrassed by her surroundings. Her mother responds to this by reminding her of what she owes to her family, particularly her depressed but hard working father. And that’s pretty much it.

As light as that sounds, it’s heart-breaking, it’s funny, it’s real, it keeps true to its ideals throughout, and most importantly, it works. Everyone involved in this project is at the height of their game. The acting is first rate. Aside from the leads, Tracy Letts as Lady Bird’s dad, and Beanie Feldstein as her best friend are equally great but for different reasons. Director Greta Gerwig is clever enough to not let any scene drag too long. She’ll happily cut where another director would be half way done. How so much talent to write, direct, act and still just be in her thirties is beyond me, and slightly infuriating.

So is there anything I didn’t like about it? Well, yes. There’s a toilet door that you’ll question why it wasn’t locked, and there’s a job interview confusion that felt a little there just because of plot. That’s it. I’m done. It was great. It was emotional enough to make me cry, and say Ooft! but not in the places I expected it to. If you haven’t seen it, you should do so now.

A triumph!

 

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