Review: Gerwig’s Comedic Coming-of-Age Story A Critical Success


Lady Bird
Dir. by Greta Gerwig
Released Nov. 3, 2017

“Lady Bird,” written and directed by Greta Gerwig in her directorial debut, is a passionate and poignant coming-of-age tale that is first and foremost a love story about the relationship between a mother and her daughter. The film received critical acclaim, breaking records on Rotten Tomatoes as it beat “Toy Story 2” as the most reviewed film to hold a 100 percent rating.

“Lady Bird’s” titular character (Saoirse Ronan) is a smartly crafted young woman who butts heads with her mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf), about college, her name, what she wears, etc. Lady Bird has carefully crafted a persona around herself as a confident and self-assured young woman who knows what she wants. Even her name, given to her by herself, represents a desire for independence and defiance against convention. She wants to rebel, and yet desperately longs for her mother to like her (not love her, which is different). She gives off an aura of not caring if she’s well-liked, but craves the approval of the rich and popular girl at their Catholic high school. For all of Lady Bird’s dreams and desires, her vulnerabilities shine through in a way that is heart wrenchingly relatable.

Displaying relationships between mothers and daughters can be a tricky path to navigate, but Gerwig does so exceptionally well. Exquisite performances by Ronan and Metcalf showcase the intricacies of a nuanced mother-daughter relationship: the fighting, the crying and the pain of wanting to be enough for one another.

Gerwig also weaves in the comedic tribulations of attending a Catholic high school, the crushing jubilation of first love to the wrong boy (Lucas Hedges), the emotionally catastrophic repercussions of sleeping with the second wrong boy (Timothee Chalamet), and the irreversible bond between a young woman and her best friend (a standout performance by Beanie Feldstein). Together, these elements make for a film that makes its audience laugh, cry and call their mothers.

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