Lady Bird: Love Letters to Mom and Sacramento, if you can believe it.
By Ross for frontmezzjunkies
This lovely and engaging teen angst drama is basically numerous love letters all enmeshed into one teenager’s tale of awakening to the complexities of adulthood. “Lady Bird“, the directorial debut of Greta Gerwig (“Frances Ha“) is in part a coming of age story of an awkward rebellious senior in a Sacramento high school, wonderfully played by Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn“). This story is also part complicated family dynamic study exploring the combative love between a teenager and her stressed out angry mother, gloriously portrayed by the always amazing Laurie Metcalf (Broadway’s A Doll’s House Part 2, Misery). The beauty of this wonderful relationship portrayal is the shades of understanding and judgement evenly shared by both. Throw in the additional story of a touching gentle father, played by the magnificent Tracey Letts (Broadway’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, playwright of Man from Nebraska), and a hilarious and engaging best friend/fellow high school outcast, played to perfection by Hello, Dolly!’s Beanie Feldstein, and what we have is one spectacularly layered and detailed directing debut by indie film actress darling, Greta Gerwig, with a heroine who wants to be called “Lady Bird”.
The first framed image is a quote about Sacramento that brings a chuckle to the audience of the New York Film Festival where I saw this glorious directorial debut gets its New York premiere. But the real kick in the pants comes just after. It’s a typical scenario gone wrong in a way we may have all fantasized about but never actually had the guts to do. It’s brilliant in its simplicity and shock value, and radiates the intricacies of the concise screenplay by Gerwig. It secures our understanding of this difficult and fierce relationship between mother and daughter while also deftly showcases their emotional connection. It’s not difficult to see the love but obviously for them, it’s not easy to display either. This is a battleground created out of care, with historical land mines all around. A stunning moment happens when Lady Bird expresses a mother/daughter wish, only to have her mother’s history dismantle it quickly. Some of the most touching scenes are centered around Metcalf’s display of compassion to others, such as the high school theatre director, who is in need of her nursing skills and understanding. But the most telling is a conversation between Lady Bird and her brother’s live-in girlfriend. In that moment, we see recognition in the daughter’s eyes, finally imagining the layers of difficult but loving attachment that resides in Metcalf’s well written and performed mother character. A shift occurs, but as with all things human, it takes a while to settle in and truly present itself for integration. (for the full review, click here)
Source: Lady Bird: A Movie Review