High school was an uncomfortable time for many of us. Filled with awkward romances, school issues and trying to figure out who we truly are, it is a daunting time which shapes our future selves. This is why high school is the setting for so many coming-of-age films.
Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” captures the reality of high school better than any film I have ever seen. It is personal without being self-indulgent, funny without being light-hearted and dramatic without being overpowering. Through a deeply personal script by Gerwig, as well as a triumphant performance by Saoirse Ronan, this film is a masterpiece of realism.
Being both the writer and director, this is Greta Gerwig’s story. It is so accurate in its depiction of high school that it feels auto-biographical. Taking place in Sacramento, the city is a character in its own right. Christine (Saoirse Ronan), or “Lady Bird” as she demands to go by, is constantly trying to escape the city where she has been stuck all her life.
The beauty of this film is that every line of dialogue has its own breath of life and nothing feels scripted, which is evident in the establishment of the characters, as Lady Bird is discussing with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) going away to college.
The ultimate plot of the film all takes place throughout Lady Bird’s senior year. This is the perfect timeframe to tell a story like this, as the day-to-day of high school life is shown as graduation approaches. Lady Bird has romances, friendships and family issues all throughout this, and it is so natural to watch on-screen that it almost feels as though we are experiencing high school alongside her.
While I have mentioned Gerwig’s voice being all over this, it should not be understated how impressive the performances are. This is the greatest role of Saoirse Ronan’s career, as her emotional range is on full display. I predict she will get an Oscar nomination for this, and definitely has a good chance of winning. Supporting her in her role is more incredible young talent in Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet. These are three actors who will no doubt be commanding the big screen for decades to come.
I cannot recommend “Lady Bird” enough. It is a perfect film to see with friends, family or by yourself. It is emotionally poignant but also very funny and entertaining. It made me appreciate certain people who were there for me through my adolescence even more and made me look back on senior year with fondness. It is the perfect mix of independent film artistry with classic cinema storytelling. This is a future classic film which I can see growing a legacy for future high school generations to experience, just like John Hughes’ “The Breakfast Club.”
I give “Lady Bird” a score of 20/20.