About halfway through the film, Christine 'Lady Bird' McPherson asks her mom, if she likes her. She knows that her mother loves her, but does she like her? All of this happens when her mother's taking time out of her 2 shift workday to help her daughter find a dress for prom. Being young, specially pubescent, is a quirky mix of being naive, innocent, ballsy, presumptious, and insecure. "Lady Bird" is an utterly sincere ode to these characteristics, and how they chisel our way through life. For, what other age or wisdom propels one to ask a mother how much it cost them to raise oneself and declare that one would repay that money by making it big in life. It's a quaint time when one finds love, gets heart broken time and again, cries and despairs, yet has the unchallenged optimism of success in life, without quite knowing what success really stands for. It's that unique space where one wills to be free of the shackles of one's roots, all the while not realizing what they have really instilled in oneself.
Greta Gerwig (writer and director) portrays this space, time, age, and wisdom quite artfully with just the right notes, conviction and accuracy. Those acquainted with her acting work would be forgiven for wondering how the flitting personality of "France Ha" could have come up with such perfection. She has a wonderful team of actors at her disposal too: Saoirse Ronan as the titular character (a given name she gives herself) is energetic and brilliant, Beanie Feldstein is an enjoyable presence, and Laurie Metcalf and Lois Smith, both huggable and quite capable of generating empathy. Gerwig balances the many joys and sorrows of the film beautifully, aided by Sam Levy's delicate visuals, that have the lovely look of faded photographs from time past. Jon Brion's music punches in deftly where necessary while Nick Huoy's editing is a trick up Gerwig's sleeve.
Source: A24 Films
In the past decade of being away from home and living by myself, I've come across several trying events which have brought out traits in me that helped me survive and thrive - only to dialogue with my personal self on how these traits were what my upbringing had imbibed in me, one way or another. "Lady Bird" manages to help relive those memories and moisten the eyes. Out in theaters now.
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