Lady Bird movie review: A brilliant performance dampened by bog-standard plot

Kelvin Reese
March 4, 2018

Lady Bird, the solo directorial debut of actress-scriptwriter Greta Gerwig, is one of the most affecting coming-of-age movies in recent memory.

Instead of comparing Lady Bird to other Oscar nominees or speculating on its chances, I'll end by recommending a film from past year it reminded me of.

"Lady Bird" is nominated for five Oscars including Best Motion Picture of the Year (Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Evelyn O'Neill) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Saoirse Ronan). I thought, "Oh, I'd like to do that.' ['Lady Bird"] is one part of Sacramento, but there's a lot of different parts I'd like to explore.

"So much of filmmaking is meeting people who will take a chance on you, and it's easier to take a chance on you, and it's easier to take a chance if it worked out the first time". (In one of the film's most disturbing scenes, the ever-desperate Larry goes on a long-shot job interview only to find himself competing with his own son).

"We are certainly very, very proud of Greta and when you watch the interviews you can see her leadership in directing such a lovely film", Kelly shared. But from the beginning, "Lady Bird" was an underdog because it does not fit in the Academy's prescribed tastes.

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This is a classic American coming-of-age film about a young girl named Christine who insists on being called Lady Bird for the sake of her own individuality. "I really wanted to make a movie that was a reflection on home and what does home mean, and how does leaving home define what it is for you and your love for it", Gerwig said at the New York Film Festival Press Conference.

Tracy Letts is a warm, encouraging presence as her father, and Lois Smith is a hilarious as a straight-talking nun, but it is Laurie Metcalf who steals the film, superb as Lady Bird's tough, no-nonsense mother, but hinting at a reservoir of unsaid affection underneath. I was a real rule-follower and a people-pleaser and a gold star-getter.

Lady Bird delivered a 31% share of the total UKI box office and had the second highest screen average of €4,412 (across 74 screens). However, this is not to say that Lady Bird is not worth a watch, far from it in fact.

The film explores her past year of high school as she goes behind her mother's back to apply to eastern colleges and attempts to get into the popular clique all while acting in a particular quirky manner that puts the viewer off at first but they quickly grow to love. She latches on to a creepy intellectual (Timothee Chalamet, an Oscar nominee this year for "Call Me By Your Name") and ends up losing her virginity on the basis of his deception.

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