Friday, 23 February 2018

Lady Bird (2017)

Lady Bird is a film I assumed I was going to love. Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, who I have been a big fan of for years now, starring Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, both great actresses, and it has already been on the receiving end of a lot of love. I was ready to be impressed.

And I was.

Saoirse Ronan plays Christine, a young woman who wants to go by the name Lady Bird, who wants to get away to university and start her life properly, and she has the standard troubles of a teenage girl while her parents (Laurie Metcalf and Tracy Letts) try to deal with their own problematic situation. That's really all there is to it.

Staying in very familiar territory for her solo directorial feature (she previously co-directed, co-wrote, and co-starred in a film with Joe Swanberg), Gerwig certainly has a feel for all of the characters in this tale. There are moments that feel authentic, here and there, but a lot of the moments feel as if they're very much based in a cinematic reality.

Ronan is superb in the lead role, perfectly portraying the strange mix of curiosity, confidence, nerve-wracking insecurity, restlessness, and frustration and anger that makes up most of our teenage years. Metcalf and Letts are equally superb as the mother and father who have different approaches to their interactions with their daughter. The other young co-stars also do very well, with solid turns from Beanie Feldstein, playing the best friend, Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet as two young men Lady Bird finds herself attracted to, and Odeya Rush as a "cool girl" who ends up an unlikely friend of Lady Bird.

All of those performances were enough to impress me, as were many chunks of the script. It was all good, if a bit familiar. But there was something else here, something that I haven't noticed anyone else mention, despite it seeming blindingly obvious. Without focusing on a pink dress or the opportunity of a perfect date, Gerwig has given audiences a John Hughes movie for the 21st century. Ronan is a stronger lead than Molly Ringwald, Eric Stoltz, or . . . Molly Ringwald, but she's given a character very close to those '80s souls that were also desperate to change the direction of their lives. It's even commented on more than once that she, according to some (including Lady Bird herself) lives on the wrong side of the tracks.

It's nice to see such a movie dressed up enough to gain a good bit of critical and commercial acclaim, but that's also a slight problem for the film. It tries to feel natural and realistic while also using characters that often feel indelibly like movie characters.

I was impressed by Lady Bird, I liked it a lot. But I still prefer the likes of Some Kind Of Wonderful and Pretty In Pink.


I THINK this is where the Blu ray will be available to buy.
Possibly here, in America.

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