By Jason Fontelieu
Greta Gerwig is able to paint a hauntingly gorgeous, painfully honest narrative in her solo directorial debut, “Lady Bird.”
Set in early 2000’s Sacramento, California, we find our primitively pristine protagonist Catherine (Saoirse Ronan), who is a a quirky, eccentric teenage girl who insists that people call her Lady Bird. Begrudgingly attending Catholic school with her best friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein) by her side, Lady Bird embarks on a journey of figuring out where she wants to go to college, what type of boy she likes and how she wants the world to perceive her.
Ronan delivers a moving performance of a troubled heroine burdened by everyday relatable problems, like getting into fights with family or debating whether or not she’s ready to have sex. Ronan’s poised way of portraying herself as a logical, rational character allows for the hardships of her character not be falsely dismissed as a whiny wannabe victim, but to be validated and acknowledged for the toll taken on her.
The rich, in-depth look at Lady Bird’s experience is a fresh spin on the typical teenage rom-com, which often trivializes problems that teenagers face. Lady Bird gives plausibility to these sorts of issues, from having one of her boyfriends struggle with sexuality to doing things against the wishes of her family.
Laurie Metcalf delivers the film’s second dominating performance as the chaotic, overbearing mother, Marion to Ronan’s character. Her solemn, stoic portrayal as the guardian and occasional killjoy of Lady Bird’s life, Metcalf’s consistency with her controlled poise throughout, even while fighting with her daughter shows the versatility of her acting abilities.
Some of the most emotionally charged moments of the film were the multiple scenes driving in a car shared between Ronan and Metcalf where their harshly passionate exchanges epitomized the struggles of teen angst battling with adult hesitations. The amount of emotion that both actresses convey with facial expressions alone is surprisingly profound.
The stunning cinematography of the film was thoughtful and precise, showing stunning long shots showcasing the beauty of Sacramento and revealing the depth of Lady Bird’s relationship with her hometown she claimed to resent for so long.
With five Academy Award nominations, “Lady Bird” has a solid chance at winning all of its categories, especially best picture and best director for Gerwig. The Academy Awards will be Mar. 4 at 8:00 p.m.
In addition, “Lady Bird” will be playing at the Hoff Theatre in Stamp Student Union Mar. 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lady Bird’s Facebook page.
Jason Fontelieu is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org