Film Column: 'Lady Bird' reviewBy Parker Aniszewski | 01/31/2018 8:15am
Photo courtesy of RottenTomatoes.com
I always try to go to movies as blind and unbiased as possible. However, it was nearly impossible to shield myself from the hype around “Lady Bird.” This is Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, starring Saoirse Ronan as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, a self-dubbed nickname. The movie follows Lady Bird’s life as she goes through her senior year in her Sacramento high school. I had worried that my expectations of this movie would leave me disappointed as I left the theater; I am ecstatic to have been wrong. I absolutely loved this movie.
First off, we must discuss Greta Gerwig’s talents. Not only is she the director, and boy does she do a good job at that, but she also wrote the movie! Furthermore, it’s an incredible script. This is some of the most superb writing I have come across; the quick and surprisingly funny script is by far my favorite part of this movie. Every major as well as some minor characters had a story arc, making them all feel like real people. The script effectively paints a picture of an honest parent-child relationship and growing up in a small town. It feels raw at times, inspiring both hearty laughter and heartfelt tears in different scenes. This is a truly remarkable debut for Gerwig, and I anticipate seeing everything she creates from here on.
Do not be mistaken — this is not a movie that focuses on working towards an action packed, awe-inspiring climax scene. Rather, it is a emotional character piece with some genuinely outstanding performances from the cast. The two stand outs are Saoirse Ronan as Lady Bird and Laurie Metcalf as Marion McPherson, Lady Bird’s mother. From the first scene they have together, you completely understand their relationship and what motivates their behavior. There’s a real depth to their relationship and you can see that despite being wildly different people they love and care for each other. Metcalf’s performance is supremely impressive in this movie, giving a portrayal of a mother doing everything she can do to help her daughter. On one hand she is intense and intimidating, and on the other she is vulnerable and tender. I greatly enjoyed her acting, so much so that I would dare to say it was Oscar-worthy. The chemistry among the cast was natural and believable, especially considering the McPherson family. In addition, I loved Tracy Letts as Larry McPherson, Lady Bird’s father. He brought some excellent comedic timing, while also having a subtly strong performance.
The coming of age genre is already filled with some great movies, as I’m sure others would agree. However, I can say with complete confidence that this is the best coming of age film I have ever seen. It is honest, hilarious, relatable and immediately sucks in the viewer. I am in disbelief that this is a directorial debut because this film is nearly perfect. I strongly suggest everyone go see this and I hope it sweeps the Oscars this year.