Greta Gerwig's 2017 film is an unconventional and deftly balanced coming-of-age story. Info
Greta Gerwig set the current prevailing standard for mother/daughter coming-of-age films with 2017’s Lady Bird. Her work starring in and co-writing 2012's Noah Baumbach-directed Frances Ha made me a true believer already, but there wasn’t a cinephile alive who wasn’t pulling for Lady Bird to win Best Picture. Gerwig would have to settle for a Best Director nomination, but succeeded in pulling off a heartwarming and surprisingly not sappy tale.
Saoirse Ronan plays Lady Bird McPherson, née Christine, a defiant, free-spirited teen who deals with some of the same stressors that every teenager faces, but in a much more unconventional way. Gerwig forgoes many of the tiresome tropes that can plague other coming-of-age tales, instead giving this character the complexity she deserves. Lady Bird can be annoying, stubborn, sweet, and bewildered, all at the same time. You may be frustrated with her decisions to figure out who she is but you are rooting for her all the way. Laurie Metcalf is a seasoned veteran of television comedy (Roseanne, Desperate Housewives), and her comedic acting skills make her superb fit here as as Lady Bird’s mother. The film can cut close to the bone at times but its sweet hint of redemption, and the notion that there will always be a little bit of you left behind in the places you come from, gives viewers the warm fuzzies without the toothache. —Edwanike Harbour