Greta Gerwig Flies High with her Directorial Debut: Lady Bird

Breaking the record for being the best reviewed movie on Rotten Tomatoes with a 100% fresh rating from 187 positive reviews, Lady Bird lives up to all of its hype, as a  wonderful display of the writer/director’s, Great Gerwig (Frances Ha), talent in storytelling. Not only does Gerwig shine, but so do Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) and Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne), who bring forth Oscar worthy performances as the mother daughter duo.

The film opens with a mother and daughter driving on a college road trip to check out schools. We learn instantly that there is this tension between the two as the daughter, Christine, refers to herself as Lady Bird. This is a rejection to the name her mother has given her, and tells us that there is a relational schism between the two. From here we shadow Lady Bird in her last year of high school, as she falls in and out of love, has existential conversations, and comes to realize who she is as a person.

What I like about the premise, is that this film takes place in a directly post-9/11 America. Fear is still hot, and there are several cultural shifts that have not yet occurred. While this film is grounded in reality, the timeframe that it takes place in makes it seem like fairytale as this is a bygone era being represented. The dialogue works in the same way, as the conversations are ones that everyday people have. This hyperrealism is so natural it seems like an even more heightened version of fiction.

As for performances, the cast did not miss a beat. I already praised Ronan and Metcalf for their performances, but allow me to go into more detail on the former. Ronan is of Irish decent, and thus has the accent. However, her accent is inaudible in this film as she fully embodies the character of an American teenager. Being a fan of Gerwig’s acting, I am extremely familiar with how she talks. I noticed that Ronan speaks much like Gerwig in the film. This was reassuring to me, as it shows the collaboration process Gerwig has with her actors goes beyond the screen. I also enjoyed the supporting role of Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) as he is great at portraying a whole range of emotions.

Everyone involved in this film seems to be gaining speed. Gerwig as a young director. Ronan and Hedges as up-and-coming actors. And Metcalf as her performance might very well rejuvenate her career.

A24 Films strikes gold again, as they funded an independent film with clear vision. Lady Bird is not only a heartwarming coming-of-age-tale, but it is a representation of the bond of family and friends. Regardless of what we do, those that love us will always love us. And if that’s the kind of world Gerwig lives in, I want to as well.

My rating: 9 of 10 #GuertlerGuarantee


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