“Lady Bird” is written and directed by Greta Gerwig and stars Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Lucas Hedges, and Beanie Feldstein. The film is about a high school girl who has named herself Lady Bird, and the struggles that she deals with involving college, friendships, romance, and being very different inside of her own community.
A24 is the best film distributor around these days, and this has been a film I’ve been excited to see ever since the first trailer for it was released. Greta Gerwig has given great quirky performances in the past, so I was very interested to see if she could bring that into her directorial debut.
Saoirse Ronan is a revelation in this film, even more so than in her breakout performance from “Brooklyn.” Ronan completely transforms into the titular character and is able to accurately portray a teen that is very different and very outspoken. Ronan brings loads of comedy, charm, and wit to this character, and it all makes her feel very alive, which allows the character to develop and change amidst the plot around her.
Greta Gerwig knocks her solo directorial debut out of the park with this weird, quirky, brilliantly original film. Gerwig packs a ton of charm into her work behind the camera, especially when it comes to the original screenplay, which is full of well-placed comedy mixed with a surprising amount of heart that makes this film feel truly like real life. This sense of realism and originality is what makes so much of this off-beat dialogue and character development work so well, and all the credit in the world goes to Gerwig for making all these pieces work as seamlessly as they do.
Laurie Metcalf and Lucas Hedges both shine in supporting roles, as both performances work particularly well alongside Ronan to make some of the highlight moments of the film. Hedges’ role is more minimal, but I love what his character and his performance brought to the film. Hedges plays his character excellently, and as the film progresses, he shares my favorite moment in the entire film with Ronan, and it almost singlehandedly is from Hedges able to bring power and emotion to the direction given by Gerwig. Metcalf, on the other hand, plays a much more major role as Lady Bird’s mother, and the back and forth with her daughter is fantastic from start to finish. Metcalf gives the right amount of anger mixed with the heart and comedy to make for a fully-developed parent to the out there lead actress, and I really loved what she brought to the movie as a whole, and to Lady Bird as a person within the movie.
There is a certain free-flowing, beautifully unique mood created from the very first scene that makes this movie so enjoyable to watch. This, of course, comes mainly from Gerwig, who shows an incredible amount of confidence with her direction choices, as well as in her screenplay. There are some jokes told on touchy subjects throughout, but they always land with flying colors, and this high level of comedy makes everything else going on under it work even better. This is a truly fun film, both by being absolutely hilarious, but also by being so peculiar and so eccentric that it stands out from nearly any film like it that I have seen about a coming-of-age teen moving on to college.
There are moments in the film, mostly in the back half, that I feel could have been executed a little better than they were. The character of Kyle, played by Timothée Chalamet, starts out with a ton of great one-liners, but I feel his character runs out of gas by the end of the film, as he became inexplicably plain and lost much of the personality that once made him so great. Tracy Letts’ role as Lady Bird’s dad is also one that fizzled out for me, as while I actually loved the performance he gave, I thought his character never developed the way the film wanted it to, and it left me with unanswered questions on his role overall.
The film eventually moves more into the drama aspects than the comedy, which is to be expected with many films of this type of nature, but I thought that the film abandoned its humor and its charm a bit too much in the final third of the movie. Sure, there are some deep, heartfelt moments that worked very well, but I also missed the consistent smile on my face that the opening hour gave me, and I wish that more of the same style of comedy could have been infused into the final moments of the movie.
“Lady Bird” has a phenomenal Saoirse Ronan performance at its core, along with brilliantly fresh direction from Greta Gerwig, as well as a fantastic blend of comedy, emotion, and tone that makes the feeling of this movie inescapable. I do think some characters could have been explored further, and the final moments could be a tad improved, but there is so much to enjoy in this film, it’s hard to gripe “Lady Bird” too hard on much of anything it sets out to do.
What did you think of “Lady Bird”? Comment below with your thoughts.