Writer & Director
(NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS)
Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalfe, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Beanie Feldstein, Timothée Chalamet, Odeya Rush and Jordan Rodrigues
The solo feature film directional debut of actress Greta Gerwig (FRANCES HA, MISTRESS AMERICA), LADY BIRD made headlines late last year by breaking a record on Rotten Tomatoes to become the best reviewed film of all time, maintaining a perfect score of 100% from 185 reviews. Now at 99% with five Oscar nominations and two Golden Globe wins, including the award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy to its name, LADY BIRD chronicles a fractured relationship between a mother and her daughter
Featuring several young and talented personalities led by American-born, Irish-raised star Saoirse Ronan as Christine “Lady Bird” MacPherson, this coming-of-age comedy-drama is set firmly in the heart of Sacramento, California (the birthplace of Gerwig). First beginning in the year 2002, Lady Bird (as she prefers to be called) is a student at a Catholic high school who has an interest in the field of dramatic arts and auditions for the school’s next performance. It is here she also gains a new interest; fellow pupil, Danny (Lucas Hedges). As Lady Bird continues to grow into the young woman she’s becoming and begins to build a future for herself, the further away she is drifting from meeting the higher standards that her perfectionist mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalfe), expects of her.
The magnificent Saoirse Ronan, who at just twenty-three years of age already boasts an impressive acting resume that has earned her three Oscar Nominations (including a Golden Globe win for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for this film), soars in LADY BIRD. And the film is pretty darn good itself.
Despite having some parallels to her own life, Gerwig has stated that while there is a “core of truth” to this film, none of the events depicted here actually took place in her life. Nevertheless, the sharp wit and piercing honesty that drive the discourse of Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-nominated screenplay are among some of the true highlights of LADY BIRD. There is a fair amount of emphasis on the faults of each character (and there are several of them), yet the goodness extracted from their hearts constantly outweighs their numerous imperfections. This is critical to the overall feeling you will walk away with from watching LADY BIRD. Had the writing and potently defined characterisation not been as studiously precise as they are, then your invited cynicism would likely result in a gross disconnection to the characters and a complete misunderstanding of the film. Adding to the healthy pulse of the film’s humour is its engagingly whimsical tone and some very blunt dialogue. On the flip side, the latter stretches of Lady Bird’s relationship with her mother and Laurie Metcalfe’s excellent Oscar-nominated performance is bound to tug onto a few heart strings. A generally bittersweet film, LADY BIRD beautifully realises the various ways in which people never stop learning and growing.
As director, Greta Gerwig has employed a steady pacing that is deceptively fast-moving, courtesy of its briefly captured scenes paired with the prompt editing work. This is a highly original and rather impressive first shot at directing solo from Gerwig that has not just earned her a well-deserved Academy Award nomination but will keep her audience attentive and entertained. Job well done!
3 ½ stars
M (Mature themes, coarse language and a sex scene)
Moviedoc thanks Universal Pictures for the invite to the screening of this film.
Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc