Summary: In the early 2000s, an artistically inclined seventeen year-old comes of age in Sacramento, California.
Cast and Characters. I think this movie is filled with colorful characters. I think all of the cast is very good in this movie. I can’t say much about the characters without giving the movie away so I’ll do my best.
Saoirse Ronan as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson. I always have to look up to see how old Saoirse Ronan is because I swear she’s been around forever but she’s only 23. She calls herself Lady Bird, and she’s a senior at a Catholic school. She wants to leave Sacramento and go to school on the East Coast. I wouldn’t say she’s particularly cynical but she does give off that feeling but at the same time, she feels like a dreamer. It’s interesting really, and it makes sense as she’s a teenager. LB deals with boys, with the whole thing of growing up, getting a job, learning about adulthood from her parents, and having to figure it out on her own. She is a strong and realistic character. I think Saoirse Ronan was great! Her delivery of this dialogue is perfect, she’s really funny but she’s also so emotional. Wow. The look from her eyes alone that shows she’s angry, or sad… the airport scene… watching her eyes was fantastic. She’s great.
Laurie Metcalf as Marion McPherson. First of all, she’s ANDY’S MOM FROM TOY STORY! I knew she sounded familiar. But she has a lot going on. She works in a clinic I believe, and she also works over the finances as she’s always talking about it. Marion seems to be unhappy with a lot and she’s a bit mean and negative towards her family, “bit” is an overstatement. Maybe she didn’t have a great life growing up, she does reference some of her history, which I think says a lot about how she is as an adult. I think Laurie Metcalf was great, she is sympathetic but at the same time you kind of want to hate her and you just might but it feels realistic.
Lucas Hedges as Danny O’Neill. Danny is a student at Lady Bird’s school and Lady Bird first sees him at his audition for the school musical. She is immediately drawn to him. He is a good kid. He’s a bit… I don’t know, odd? But he’s sweet. He and Lady Bird have a relationship and he’s so happy… but he has his own problems that causes some issues but I think for this time period, his reaction was realistic. I remember Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the Sea and I thought he was great in that film and while his role is a small one, I think he plays Danny to be quite memorable. His first scene with Lady Bird alone was a great scene.
Beanie Feldstein as Julianne “Julie” Steffans. Julie is Lady Bird’s best friend, she seems to be the “happy” friend compared to Lady Bird who is a bit more… all over the place. She is smart and talented where she gets a lot of recognition and it creates some interesting conversations. I thought she was sweet and of course like a lot of coming of age movies, she does get pushed to the back burner by her best friend but she’s a true friend. I’ve never seen Beanie Feldstein in anything, but she’s likable in her role and she even has some emotional moments where you understand it from her viewpoint.
Tracy Letts as Larry McPherson. Lady Bird’s father. He’s a bit closer to her than her mom is. He works with her on her secrets, with secrets of his own, but he’s supportive for the most part. He has great fatherly moments with Lady Bird.
Timothee Chalamet as Kyle Scheible. LB first sees him while he’s performing with his band, well at least this is the first time she looks at him and think he’s cute. He’s that mysterious type, plays an instrument, reads a lot (I think the same book though), and always talking about how he’s against the system etc. He’s a cutie and it’s easy to see where his role goes with LB. The young actor though is good in his role.
There are many other characters as well, a lot of students that Lady Bird comes into contact with, most especially Odeya Rush as Jenna Walton and the professors such as Jake McDorman as Mr. Bruno, Stephen Henderson as Father Leviatch, and Lois Smith as Sister Sarah Joan. All of the acting is top-notch.
The Music. Jon Brion composes the music in this film and I think it has a subtle beauty to it. The film is set in the early 2000s, I think 2002, and the music fits. There’s even a bit of Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” during a party. But during emotional points, the music is very emotional and soft. I also love how towards the end, it swells but it doesn’t overpower the film.
The Time Period. This film is very much a coming of age film and I think it works so perfectly in this time period. It has this perfect balance of feeling “dated” but also feeling “fresh” and “up to date”. It’s easy to tell that it’s not a film set in the present but the issues swirling in this movie, with the family, within Lady Bird herself, is timeless. It has a timeless feel to it which just fits the movie.
The Story. This is at its core a “coming of age” story and it’s beautiful. Christine calls herself “Lady Bird” and she is determined for people to call her that as well. She has a strained relationship with her parents, her relationship with her father is stronger than the other with her mother but it’s easy to tell that there is a bit of strain there too. But it’s the relationship between Lady Bird and her mom where this film really gets involved. The entire family seems to have strain. Lady Bird has her father drop her off a block from school, she argues constantly with her brother (who I’m assuming is adopted), and her relationship with her mother is a roller coaster where at times they seem to get along but then someone says something and it turns into an argument. A perfect example of this is the scene in the thrift shop with how they’re arguing and it immediately switches to them agreeing. It was great. The film also deals with Lady Bird’s want to go to college away from home, far away and her struggle with how to deal with that. She has a best friend in Julie and it seems that they have a hiccup as well. There are also boys. This film hits every note really and it does it in a way that doesn’t feel cliché but has a natural flow. It shows that scariness of leaving childhood and going into adulthood.
Quirky/Great Dialogue. This is definitely a quirky movie. The dialogue is smart, funny but it’s not over the top. The situations are the same, everything that happens feel like it could happen and I’m sure have happened to some people. Lady Bird’s problems are things that teenagers have to face growing up, but the movie doesn’t make her look overly stupid, overly emotional or make it “too smart” where some people can’t enjoy it. It kind of has a Wes Anderson feel sometimes but this is Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut and she also wrote the film. It’s great. The movie also has great dialogue. You know how there are times when stories written for teenagers make them sound older than what they are, make them sound pretentious or they’re trying to sound quirky? This movie doesn’t do that. The dialogue is funny, is holds weight and it’s just so good.
The Emotional Weight. This movie is emotional, but it’s not “hit you over the head” emotional nor does it feel like I’m being manipulated into being emotional. Anyone could pick a plot point out of the movie and connect with it. This movie had me in tears throughout. It wasn’t consistently emotional but there were many times where I just sat there in tears. Every scene with her mother is emotional in some way but there are three or four scenes in particular that I thought were the best scenes in the movie.
The Prom Dress Scene. Just the conversation between Lady Bird and her mom while shopping for a wedding dress. I think many daughters and mother’s have this conversation and it’s very interesting to see just how negative her mom is or can be, even without trying to.
The Kitchen Scene. This happens before the airport scene but Lady’s Bird mom finds out about something and Lady Bird is talking to her in the kitchen and it’s a lot. It’s a beautiful, gut-punching, heart wrenching scene.
The Airport Scene. This scene is mostly quiet, it’s just Lady Bird, her mom and dad drying in the car and her mom is not speaking to her after a decision Lady Bird made. So I won’t go any further, but seeing the emotions on Lady Bird’s face when she sees that her mother won’t even look at her, and then later the emotions that move across her mother’s face. Oh man, I was in tears.
The Ending. It’s literally like a narration and some quiet scenes… beautiful.
Random Side Plots. There isn’t a lot of this going on but one most notably, I thought was weird, but it doesn’t affect the movie really, I just wanted to comment on it, was that there is a storyline with Father Leviatch and we don’t really know what’s going on and I think that’s fine. But later, there’s a scene between him and Mrs. McPherson that I thought was random as nothing happens afterwards. We never hear about it again and I just thought it was strange that it was even in the movie.
Overall, I loved this movie. It’s perfect. I don’t have any problem with it minus that one thing that doesn’t affect the movie at all. I think all of the acting is superb by everyone in this movie, even the supporting (minor) characters. Saoirse Ronan is a strong lead in this film and her mother Laurie Metcalf is fantastic right alongside her. The music fits the film with its subtle nature, the story line is a true story, that doesn’t try to be more than what it is, but it also feels authentic and real. This movie is fantastic.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
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