By: Jo Siedlecka
A gentle, funny, coming-of-age story. Although set in the early 80s, in Sacramento, California, in one sense Lady Bird has all the ingredients of your classic adolescent drama - the rebellious teenager in her final year at high school, clashes with her mother, first encounters with the opposite sex, the best friend, moods swerving from elation to despair. But it's so much more.
What lifts it way above many other films in this genre is Greta Gerwig's beautiful script, and fine direction, and a very well-chosen cast. Irish-American Saoirse Ronan (who was so sympathetic in Brooklyn) excels as the wilful, vulnerable pink haired teenager, and the scenes with her and her mother, (Laurie Metcalf) an overworked nurse, struggling to do the best for everyone, are electric. Smaller characters are also beautifully observed - especially Stephen Henderson as Fr Leviatch and Lucas Hedges as her almost first boyfriend.
Christine (she has decided give herself the name 'Lady Bird') attends a Catholic high school, and it is refreshing to see the Catholic teachers, priests and religious - and the school prayers and services - depicted realistically. Although some of Lady Bird's behaviour is quite challenging - most of the school staff always encourage her - as in the scene when Sister Sarah Joan comments on something she has written:
Sister Sarah Joan: You clearly love Sacramento.
'Lady Bird': I do?
Sister Sarah Joan: You write about Sacramento so affectionately and with such care.
'Lady Bird': I was just describing it.
Sister Sarah Joan: Well it comes across as love.
'Lady Bird': Sure, I guess I pay attention.
Sister Sarah Joan: Don't you think maybe they are the same thing? Love and attention?
At the 90th Academy Awards, Lady Bird earned five nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress for Ronan, Best Supporting Actress for Metcalf, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Director. At the 75th Golden Globe Awards, Saoirse Ronan won the award for best Actress for her part in the film, and received nominations for two more awards. The film was also nominated for three British Academy Film Awards.
An impressive directorial debut for Greta Gerwig. Together with Saoirse Ronan - two gifted artists to look out for in future.
See a trailer for Lady Bird here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNi_HC839Wo