My rating IMDb Rotten Tomatoes
Critics Audience Critics Audience
9/10 94/100 8.4/10 100% 89%
The relationship between mothers and daughters has always been an intriguing one and is the topic of many movies this season, from comedies like A Bad Moms Christmas to dramas like The Florida Project.
The one that fully captures all the nuances and complexities of that relationship is Lady Bird, written and directed by actress Greta Gerwig (no wonder the film’s working title was Mothers and Daughters).
Lady Bird is how Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), a teenage girl living in Sacramento, wants to be called by everyone in her senior year in high school. She goes to a catholic school and dreams about moving to New York to attend college, claiming she’s tired of Sacramento (“the midwest of California”, as she classifies it). The audience is invited to accompany her during 2002/2003, and we witness her ups and downs with family and friends.
Her mother Marion (played by the brilliant Laurie Metcalf) struggles to please Lady Bird and both often argue over basically everything, especially when it comes to Lady Bird’s appreciation of her parents’ efforts to giver her the best life possible despite their economics restraints. Her father (Tracy Letts) is caught in between these two with very strong personalities while dealing with his own depression.
The scenes with just Lady Bird and Marion are definitely the best ones in the film, from the very first one, when they are in the car, until the one they are shopping for a dress for prom. They can transform a calm conversation into an argument – and back to a normal conversation – so easily it is impossible not to laugh and think about a moment in your own life when that happened. Both actresses are on the top of their game and give very strong performances, which is a delight to watch.
“Coming of age” movies are more ubiquitous nowadays, but rarely are they this funny, smart, and moving. Lady Bird can appeal to everyone, since her dreams, desires and feelings are universal and definitely not limited to Sacramento.
The city also plays an important role in the story, since it is both loved and hated by the protagonist (as most cities are, especially when someone moves out and misses their hometown). Even though the protagonist is ashamed of her origins most of the time, the movie can be seen as a love letter to Sacramento, which helped Lady Bird to shape her personality.
It is arguably one of the best films released this year and it is always a breath of fresh air to see stories like that being told with an original screenplay.