Mainstream Chick: Greta Gerwig is officially a triple threat: actress, writer and director. Lady Bird marks her debut as the solo writer and director of a feature film, and it’s a good one. Despite the name, it doesn’t have anything to do with ‘Lady Bird’ Johnson. (just getting that out of the way now, especially since there’s a new LBJ movie out). Lady Bird is about the relationship between 17-year-old Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Soirsa Ronan, Brooklyn) and her mother (Laurie Metcalfe), as Christine completes her senior year in high school and looks forward to getting out of her hometown of Sacramento (which Christine/Lady Bird refers to as the “’Midwest’ of California”). Lady Bird is a coming-of-age movie on par with last year’s underappreciated The Edge of Seventeen. The supporting cast is excellent and the film has some very funny moments. But the most poignant ones – and the stand-out performance – comes from Metcalfe.
[Side note: I had the pleasure of participating in a brief roundtable interview with Greta Gerwig. She was charming. I asked whether she had any concern that folks might think her movie was a biopic about Lady Bird Johnson. Her answer, in a nutshell, was “no” (she figures people know before they go what type of movie they are walking into); I also asked if she would ever consider revisiting the characters/story someday. She said she doesn’t think so, because she likes the finite nature of cinema and likes to think of each one as its own little universe. I noted that this is a universe she created, so she can reserve the right to change her mind. She agreed, adding, “The next time they’ll all be vampires.” ☺]
Arty Chick: Lady Bird is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story written and directed by Greta Gerwig, my favorite kooky character actress. Saoirse Ronan plays the title character, a teenager in Sacramento longing to get out into the big wide world, and getting a lot of pushback from her mom who’s played beautifully by Laurie Metcalf. Lady Bird is going through a lot of the typical teenage problems: boys, best friends, figuring out who she is and who she wants to be, and trying to pretend she isn’t from the wrong side of the tracks. And the way her mom treats her doesn’t help. Her family is barely holding on and Mom is trying to be realistic, but what Lady Bird needs is some warmth and encouragement. It’s a sweet and funny film. And it demonstrates that Gerwig is as adept behind the camera as she is in front of it.
Go see it! It’s definitely one of the best things out there right now!