Lady Bird – Film Review

This is the last of the big awards season films to come out in the UK, and I’ve been looking forward to it for ages.  It is Greta Gerwig’s first directorial effort, and she also wrote the screenplay.  The film is a coming of age drama/comedy charting Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson’s (Saoirse Ronan) last year at high school in Sacramento before leaving for college.  She’s desperate to leave the area, despite the wills of her mother (Laurie Metcalf).  In this year she falls in love, out of love, tackles the tough relationship with her mother and begins to wonder what she really wants.

One thing to note about this film is how much audience participation it invoked.  There were gasps, yells, noises of disgust, loud laughs and cries whilst this movie played.  It indicates a film where people care, and that’s important.  Right from the very beginning we understand the most important relationship of the film: the mother daughter one and the incidents that come from their time together are really moving.  There is cause to make a noise during the shocking or upsetting moments, because the characters are so well presented.  It also happens to be very well acted across the board.  Soairse Ronan is honest and convincing in the lead, because she seems so natural to the role.  Every decision she made felt believable, which is thanks to some good writing, but I think mostly down to Ronan’s ability to clearly care about the person she’s playing.   Laurie Metcalf against her is beautifully ignorant, though also heartbreaking and the two of them have a terrific chemistry.  Their scenes together can be amusing or despairing.  And the rest of the cast do well, especially Lucas Hedges’ Danny who shows a great range and Beanie Feldstein’s Julie, who is most likeable character you’ll ever see.  I can’t forget to mention legendary Tracy Letts as the father, because his melancholic nature brings out some of the most sincere pieces of storytelling.

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In short the film is very good, and satisfying.  Gerwig obviously has filmmaking skill, and it’s a very pretty watch.  To look at the film deeper there are some issues I have with it, that aren’t too major.  It kinds of falls into recycled high school drama now and then and there are moments of blandness.  The film never the reaches the heights of being an amazing piece of work, because a lot of its moving parts didn’t astound me.  When the film is brilliant, it’s highlighting on home, unmet expectations, depression and parental connections.  It’s less brilliant during the high school tropes, and I think my cynical British mind is making me view it this way.  Our high school experiences are much different to US’s, so there are moments when I’m like: “yeah okay, I get it, please move on”.  However the film is excellent as a whole because it’s really funny, it’s well shot, has good characters and there are fantastic odd moments that’ll definitely make you smile.

 

Is it worth the price of a cinema ticket?

Yes! This film doesn’t have a massive release so it’s definitely worth going to a smaller independent cinema to go see it!

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