This movie is a miracle.
LADY BIRD Discussion
Here are five reasons to see LADY BIRD:
1. As a script, it's near-perfect. Nothing is wasted, and nothing is over-explained. It's a case study in how to make the specific - and the movie is very, very specific to a time and place - feel universal. The characters are living, breathing people, and Gerwig knows how to do a lot with a little. It's also got one of my favorite elements in screenwriting, where you get a glimpse into a character's life with a line or a scene, and it's never returned to, never underlined, never explained again. It just enriches your understanding of these characters as people. The reason I say it's near perfect is that it gets a little shaggy in the last ten minutes or so, but if you liked MISTRESS AMERICA, you won't mind it so much.
2. Speaking of MISTRESS AMERICA - this thing is funny as shit. It helps if you go into it with a small town background or Catholic high school education (or both), but even if you don't have that connection, the line delivery and performances make it one of the funniest films of the year. To say any more about just how funny it is spoils the pleasures of it.
3. The movie's humor is rooted not just in the characters, but the performances. My god, what a cast this is from top to bottom. It's one of those films where the actors playing the teenagers are as talented and as nuanced as the adults - no small feat when you're talking about an adult cast that includes four Tony nominees (two of them, Tracy Letts and Laurie Metcalf, winners). Metcalf is the obvious MVP among the adults - again, I don't mean to hype it, but she's breathtakingly good - but Letts is doing wonderful, minimalist work. As Lady Bird's parents, they find the humanity and character while still representing something deep about The Way We Live Now. And I mean it when I say the young cast is just as good - Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalmet are instantly characters you recognize (or may have dated). But there's also Beanie Feldstein, playing Lady Bird's best friend, who deserves to have a rich and long career. Each of them surprising. Each of them real.
4. Of course, any discussion of the cast has to mention the work Saiorse Ronan, as Christine "Lady Bird" MacPhearson, does here. This is absolutely a performance that should be on the Oscar short-list - and maybe even a favorite to win. Despite having two Oscar nominations at 23, she's quietly become one of our greatest living actors - watching her emerge these past few years is reminiscent of watching Kate Winslet become A Thing in the late 90s, or how Heath Ledger suddenly became a major talent. It's a rare thing, and the work here is astonishing in its nuance, and, again, specificity. She understands how to convey an entire display of emotions with a line or a look, much the way Metcalf does. The mother-daughter relationship that forms the core of the picture is an all-timer, and again, it's just a joy to watch two masterful actors dig in the way these two do.
5. Joy. I keep coming back to that - this movie is a joy. It has a big, fat beating heart, and it takes you through an entire cycle of emotions that may leave you drained by the end of it, but with a smile on its face. It's a joy to spend time with these characters. It's a joy to see how carefully and yet, again, how specifically Gerwig captures the feeling and world of 2002-2003, particularly for older millennials. (Warning: This is probably the highest concentration of Old Millennial nostalgia in the truest sense yet, and, among other thing, reclaims Dave Matthews' "Crash Into Me" as one of our great American pop songs, don't at me.) Yet in that specificity, she achieves universality, which ultimately makes Lady Bird one of the best coming of age movies/teen movies in recent memory. We've been gifted with some good ones lately - THE SPECTACULAR NOW, ME AND EARL, EDGE OF SEVENTEEN - but this one might surpass them all.
I'd add that Gerwig's script and direction are very sophisticated in that the film is sympathetic to Lady Bird but it's also removed enough that it has perspective and doesn't turn her into a hero or martyr. She's a person that sometimes makes immature bad choices and the film doesn't sugar coat it.
That Dave Matthews thing is a perfect encapsulation. No matter what we think of it now, it was legitimately loved at the time. This isn't Stranger Things where only the stuff that's aged well is remembered.
It's also funny as hell.
Even better for me the second time. I caught more of the nuances in the characters as well as just how great Gerwig's direction and editing is.
This really is a movie that lets you enjoy putting 2 and 2 together. Because of it, there's almost no point in the movie I disengage with. Amazing pacing.
Laurie Metcalf has played a mom in a movie that is partly about a parent seeing their child off to college
toy story 3
of course, toy story 3 does it all weird because andy is a chibi weirdo
Lady Bird much better than toy story 3
But good lord, fuuuuuuuuuck Kyle. Ugh. The fucking worst. I mean, he’s a greatly written character, but man, just the worst.