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Lady Bird (dir. Gerwig)

Image: Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird © Property of A24 [Source: IMDB]

 ★★★★☆

It is 2002, Sacramento California and artistically inclined, rebellious teenager “Lady Bird” is figuring out about the world and her place in it. What college to go to, relationships, social groups and responsibility are the hurdles she needs to overcome in this visceral take on the ‘coming of age’ stories we know and love.

Director: Greta Gerwig. Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts [15]

Echoing some of the great ‘coming of age’ stories such as Dazed and Confused and The Breakfast Club, Lady Bird aims to deconstruct the growth and climate that has become so apparent in that age of human life today. In many ways, Lady Bird seeks to tackle an area not touched on by these movies and yet in other aspects it follows the same sort of beats and tones of its predecessors. The characters of Lady Bird are grounded and honestly written, to some it may speak an air of relatability or memories of your own teenage years which is a crucial factor in the ‘coming of age’ story. Most importantly is the remarkable honest writing of these characters, flawed, complex, ironic and hilarious – Lady Bird presents many facets to its protagonist that speaks to the absurd conflicting of ideals and personality in people. While it deals with its protagonist and some of the supporting characters superbly, it still fails to innovate entirely and falls back on a lot of stereotypes and archetypal stories, while making some modern-day strides, such as it being entirely focused on the female perspective, it still allows areas of its writing to forget what it’s trying to say – people are complex.

In its cinematography Lady Bird gives itself the warm glow and stark colours that seem entangled with the ‘coming of age’ film, it always feels right for these stories in that it seems to speak to the glow of youth and brightness of the unconcerned time in our lives. Lady Bird certainly follows that tone but also has a balance of those growing awkward stories of youth with the mature plot of the relationship between mother and daughter, to which both actresses (Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf) identify and fit into their roles perfectly, there could not have been better casting decisions with these two who seem to take on these characters as second nature, both delivering outstanding performances. The relationship is told with a mature honesty that does wonders for the arc of the storytelling, there is many an insightful observation made about this relationship to which it allows the audience a deeper connection with the characters however the lack of time given to this relationship and the structure of the edit doesn’t quite push the emotion to where the film wanted it to go. However, this insight makes for a striking and forceful finale that bows out Lady Bird on a majestic high note.

Lady Bird is told with a fun, hilarious and truthful depiction of female teenage years, balancing out the humorous awkward growing pains with the tenacity and honesty of a mother/daughter relationship. While it doesn’t always make strides in the right direction and fails to forget the clear message it is going for, Lady Bird is a delightful experience that makes a profound observation that is sure to connect and speak to many people.

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