I like to think that Lady Bird is a little bit like the writer-director Greta Gerwig herself: charming, quirky, capable, and maybe, as the kids say these days, a bit extra.
The teenager’s coming of age is a perfectly enjoyable film that deftly covers plenty of the rising and falling action of major teen desires and dramas: Can I get into the college of my choice? Will my parents get off my back? Will I find love? Will I find friends? Who am I?
As she did in another coming-of-age story, Brooklyn, Saoirse Ronan does a great job of holding the movie together as the teen Christine McPherson, who has named herself ‘Lady Bird.’ She wants to get out of Sacramento for college, though she doesn’t have the grades and her family may not have the money. As she navigates senior year, a first crush, a role in a school play, and changing friendships, two characters stand out: her best Julie, played by Beanie Feldstein, and her mother, played by Laurie Metcalf.
Beanie’s wide eyes and youthful energy made the screen light up with her presence nearly every time she had a seen. It is a wonderful performance, and hopefully will help launch her career into a higher orbit.
The real standout though is Laurie Metcalf, who plays Lady Bird’s mother with a strict, open, and uncompromising attitude. Her performance does raise a great question: Is love equal to attention? That is, Lady Bird’s mother always seems to be on her case: so is that a reflection of love? Or is there some cruelty in her mother’s honesty?
I can see why the film got five Oscar nominations (picture, actress, supporting actress, director, original screenplay). I’m rooting for Laurie Metcalf to win supporting actress, though Allison Janney, who is great in “I, Tonya,” has won Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards for her role.