‘Lady Bird’: A coming-of-age story with stand-out performances

Emmy Farstad
Copy Editor

COURTESY OF IMPAWARDS.COM

Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, “Lady Bird”, is at times both endearing and frustrating. The movie centers on Christine, who rebelliously insists on being called Lady Bird, a high-schooler grappling with her identity in a world that doesn’t always allow her the space to find herself.

Saoirse Ronan was the perfect choice to embody this character. Her performance encapsulates a young adult who, throughout the movie, goes back and forth between wanting to stand out and wanting to fit in.

Much of the story centers on Lady Bird’s romantic interests and her subsequent heart break. In these moments, the audience sees a girl who only wants to be loved.

This desire is better understood as we see the relationship unfold with Lady Bird and her mother. Laurie Metcalf, of “Roseanne” fame, plays the immensely complicated mother Marion, who admittedly comes off as borderline-unhinged.

Marion is a difficult character to pin down and her treatment of Lady Bird is unpredictable and volatile. At one moment, she is transparent and raw, but in the blink of an eye she becomes tense, mean and guarded.

In one of the more moving scenes, Lady Bird breaks down and asks her mother if she even likes her. Her mother responds, “I want you to be the very best version of yourself that you can be.” Lady Bird pauses and answers, “What if this is the best version?”

To me, this scene was indicative of Lady Bird’s quest to be loved, but also displayed her deep-rooted feelings of inadequacy. It feels that although she makes such an effort to rebel against everything and everyone around her, she just wants someone to tell her that she’s fine as-is.

Throughout the movie, I frequently found myself annoyed with the characters and was internally screaming, “Why can’t you just communicate in a normal, healthy way?!”

While the narrative really centers on Lady Bird’s amorous conquests and constantly butting heads with her mother, the take away for me was to look at the relationships she has that really matter.

Her best friend, Julie, is consistently supportive, loving, fun and embracing. Even after Lady Bird treats her poorly, Julie welcomes her back into her arms and Lady Bird realizes that this is the kind of relationship any high-schooler would be lucky to have.

Lady Bird’s father is also one of the more likeable characters, a gentle man who works hard to counteract the severity of his wife with softness and support.

The message of the film stood out to me most: In life, we often spend so much time chasing an idea of the perfect life or relationship or surrounding. Yet, a lot of the time it’s been under our nose as we try to chase something that, in the long run, doesn’t fulfill us.

I enjoyed the complexity of the characters and the superb acting skills of the people who play them. Because of my tendency to be easily frustrated, it probably is not a movie I’m dying to see again. However, I am glad to have seen it and I would still recommend it to anyone because it is quite poignant and moving.

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