★★★★1/2 - THE DOMINION POST
- Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson is a bright, slightly geeky teenager from what she wryly refers to as “the wrong side of the tracks” in Sacramento, California.
It is 2002, the world and everything in it are in a state of turmoil and flux.
Lady Bird takes place over a school year full of love, heartbreak, confusion and joy. The whole mixed grill of adolescent emotions are here, and never more compassionately and accurately rendered.
“Lady Bird...is that a given name?” asks her drama teacher. “Yes, I gave it to myself,” Lady Bird replies, encapsulating the rebelliousness and search for identity at the heart of Saoirse Ronan’s character.
Ronan (Atonement, The Lovely Bones) plays the lead to perfection, as a blazingly smart young woman right on the cusp of gaining enough self-belief to show her abilities to the outside world.
Beside her, American veteran Laurie Metcalf (JFK, Leaving Las Vegas) does wonderful things as Lady Bird’s mother, torn between cheering her on and wanting desperately to hold her close, with maybe a dash of envy at the life her daughter might get to have.
Tracy Letts (American Buffalo), Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea) and Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) turn up in a support cast that collectively turn in a master-class in ensemble playing. It’s maybe a testament to the respect and affection that Greta Gerwig, long-time co-writer and co-director to other film-makers, is held in that she can bring together a cast like this for her solo-directing debut.
Lady Bird is a symphony of perfectly observed adolescent awkwardness and the heartbreaking bravery it takes some kids just to face another day of not fitting in.
Lady Bird is a gem. File this one next to Juno, Edge of Seventeen, and The Way Way Back, and not too far away from your favourite John Hughes movie.
Lady Bird is a story about growing up, of course. Any movie about adolescence is, almost by default. But Lady Bird is also about growing out. Out of home, out of insecurity, out of any need or desire to be less than an authentic version of ourselves.
I loved this film. You quite possibly will too.