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Lady Bird - A heartfelt coming-of-age tale

by Roisin Gordon. Published Mon 05 Mar 2018 20:19

Lady Bird marks the directorial debut of indie actress Greta Gerwig, with a story that explores the struggles of being a teenager on the verge of adulthood.

Thanks to Gerwig’s incredible direction and screenplay, which creates a painfully real but heartfelt atmosphere, along with moving yet sincere performances from the cast. Lady Bird proves to be a funny, smart and touching coming-of- age tale.

The story follows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), through her last year of school. From navigating her way through classes, friendships and falling in love, as well as clashing with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) over her future plans and wanting to leave her hometown of Sacramento.

Greta Gerwig has delivered a story that feels so refreshing and unique, where the heart of the story isn’t so much about high school romance and experiences like most coming-of- age films, but more about the conflicting relationship between a mother and daughter.

Gerwig’s direction and screenplay brings so much warmth yet raw emotion, that it keeps you invested in their complex yet emotional bond. It acknowledges the differences between them and doesn’t gloss over their rough patches, but rather has them confronting each other on their own issues and differences.

This is made clear in the opening scene, where it shows a conversation between Lady Bird and her mother in the car on the way back from a college tour.

It starts off normal and seemingly civil, but it soon turns into her mother nagging about her future decisions, leading to a fed up Lady Bird to throw herself out of the moving car, which really sets the tone for the rest of the film.

In spite of their differences, they do have some really touching scenes where it shows that whilst they might not see eye to eye on everything, they do really care for each other and just wish that they could understand one another.

The film does deal with struggles shown in most coming-of- age tales, such as first loves, friendships and making decisions about the future, taking us through moments that feel painfully real, but portrays it in a humorous but sincere light.

Each character and story arc are treated with respect and makes you really care for them and their outcome. It also does well at avoiding the usual cliches shown in coming-of-age films, which helped in making it feel all the more natural.

One part of the story shows Lady Bird discovering her boyfriend Danny kissing another guy, where she feels hurt at first, but when they confront each other about it, he breaks down about coming to terms with his sexuality and she consoles him, proving to be a touching moment.

Saoirse Ronan gives such a raw performance as Lady Bird, creating a unique and angst-ridden character who is finding her own path, which feels so real and allows you to become invested in her journey.

Ronan manages to maintain the characters likeability, even when there are moments of Lady Bird being selfish and difficult towards those around her, but also shows that she does learn and grow from her mistakes along the way.

Laurie Metcalf also delivers a fine performance as Marion, in what is probably her best role to date. She brilliantly portrays a strict yet well meaning mother, who has no problem with telling Lady Bird about her own faults, but you can feel that her intentions come from a good place.

Despite the character’s stern persona, Metcalf is given some really good emotional scenes to work with. From bickering with Lady Bird to consoling her over her romances, she always displays the sincere passion of a mother’s love.

Lady Bird marks a stunning directorial debut for Greta Gerwig, and is sure to become a classic in following years.

Purple Revolver Rating: 5/5- emotional and sincere


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