Lady Bird seems like your yearly, usually released in the summer, coming of age tale that gets a lot of praise but is forgotten within months.
|Christine “Lady Bird”||Saoirse Ronan|
Christine, who prefers to be called “Lady Bird,” is a senior in Catholic school with grandeur thoughts of moving to the east coast for college. Of which, in terms of her writing, that is the main thing which could get her there. Not connections, surely not money, but her writing.
But while going to college is one of Lady Bird’s focuses, as for the film as a whole, the real focus is Christine’s relationship with her mother Marion. Lady Bird is both trying to distance herself from the life Marion and Larry made as much as she is trying to win Marion’s validation. Which, with them both having Type-A personalities, rarely do the two have the mother-daughter relationship both desire.
For Lady Bird, she feels the main thing she gets out of Marion is criticism. Whether it is something as simple as a prom dress she chooses to wanting to pursue a non-local school. On the other hand, for Marion, what she sees is a selfish child. One which doesn’t take into account Larry is laid off. A child that doesn’t recognize the sacrifices being made and how everyone is pitching in, including Lady Bird’s older brother Miguel, while Lady Bird can’t even clean up her room.
Ultimately leaving us with your usual coming of age tale which includes losing your virginity; pretending to be something you’re not, and losing your best friend in the process, only to get them back later; and reaching your dreams even without the assistance you thought would just come to you.
Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments
- According to Larry, the point of contention seems to steem not just from them both having Type-A personalities but also Marion feeling helpless in guiding Christine in life. Likely due to a combination of money, time (Marion often works double shifts as a nurse), and normal parent struggles. After all, Miguel has a degree, a STEM degree, yet she wasn’t able to do much for him. He is a cashier when we are introduced to him.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- The movie doesn’t really address Miguel at all. We assume he is adopted and that’s about it. As for whether it was because Marion didn’t think she could have kids and something of that nature, it isn’t really dived into. Note: It could have been mentioned, like in the letter Larry sneaks into Lady Bird’s luggage at the end of the movie. However, the elephant in the room being noted only once, and almost seeming like tokenism doesn’t do much for the movie. Well, unless Miguel, and his wife, living with Marion are made to soften her up.
Money is not life’s report card.
Don’t you think they are the same thing: Love and Attention?
On The Fence
It Just Feels Perennial
Similar to how there used to be a SaW every year or how there is a new Madden football game, there is something about Lady Bird which seems almost like it is fulfilling a yearly product. I mean, you have your protagonist who is a bit annoying, so badly wants to be seen as different, and has your usual teen angst. Her best friend Julie is the big girl best friend who barely gets any development. Also, naturally, as a lot of people in their teens worry about, one of her focuses are losing her virginity.
But as time goes on, you have to question what made this story something to be told? What is it about Lady Bird which makes this story different? Is it her battles with her mother? Could it be that she is from the west coast rather than east coast?
I mean, don’t get me wrong, no one is terrible in the film. The problem here is that for avid moviegoers, there is nothing to really make this film pop. For casual filmgoers, yeah. Especially if you haven’t seen the majority of female-focused coming of age films in the last 10 years. But otherwise, outside of the location change and the parents playing a larger part than usual, and more than one boyfriend, there isn’t anything to note which puts this on a pedestal.
There isn’t anything much about Christine’s faith; her battles with her mother are interesting, even relatable, but don’t really hit home; and her relationships with boys honestly just feel like obligatory validation. Which I mean in terms of showing guys are attracted to her – even if she is a bit odd at times.
Overall: Mixed (Divisive)
I think, like with The Killing of a Sacred Deer, I fell for the hype. There was so much put into who Greta Gerwig is, the film was starring Saoirse Ronan, and was positioned during awards season. So with that combination, I walked in with high hopes and left satisfied with Ronan’s performance and questioning what is the hubbub with Gerwig?
For really, as much as I understand and pay to see more diverse depictions of girls and women on the big screen, we have reached what feels like a saturated market. One in which, stories about middle class, or even upper class, white American girls easily converge into one another. Which is the primary reason for the mixed label. There is nothing here which pushes Lady Bird to be something you must see. Arguably, there isn’t even anything here to make this worth talking about a year from now. It just fits the bill of us usually getting a white girl coming of age story that surely sites like IndieWire will say got snubbed as the Golden Globes and Oscars come about.