Comedy / Drama
Comedy / Drama
Christine "Lady Bird" MacPherson is a high school senior from the "wrong side of the tracks." She longs for adventure, sophistication, and opportunity, but finds none of that in her Sacramento Catholic high school. LADY BIRD follows the title character's senior year in high school, including her first romance, her participation in the school play, and most importantly, her applying for college.
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February 14, 2018 at 01:34 AM
Complexity yields to stereotypes
This film starts off well -- original, quirky characters come to life around a good performance by Saoirse Ronan. The story becomes a problem. It's a shame, because this movie really grazes success. Characters are well constructed and well acted, but just when they begin to seem complex and relatable enough for the movie to be enjoyable, they go completely over the top and fall into stupid clichés.
The writer decided to go way overboard with the mother. It severely compromises her character as she no longer seems believable, or real. It's the same with most other characters. Kyle, her cool new soon-to-be ex-boyfriend seems a little unpleasant from the start but we can see what Lady Bird likes about him. He's original and kinda deep, but by the end of their relationship he can't even speak two words without tilting his head to the side. He acts like such an unmitigated asshole that it's hard to see him as a real character at all. Instead he just turns into the hyperbolic version of every American high school cool kid cliché.
The story is far from smooth, and somewhat schizophrenic. Developments in the plot don't arise naturally, but are rather heavy-handededly imposed on the viewer for the sake of complexity. The opposite happens -- everything just becomes melodramatic and uninteresting. We are given one hundred variations of the same nuance; it's repetitive. The director spoon-feeds the viewer chunky fragments of a bloated story. As a result, the movie feels disjointed and forced.
In the end, Lady Bird is supposed to be a complicated but altogether very likeable character. She is not. Lady Bird is mean and self-centered and her struggles don't feel significant as they are only inflated by her own vapid sense of self-importance.
This movie falls flat. It starts off well but turns into a contest of tropes and leaves the viewer with very little to think about as the director seems to have wanted to do all the thinking for us.
Wrong Side of the Tracks ... but still "rich people's problems" version of Coming of Age
Aw, I admit it. I'll watch anything with Saoirse Ronan in it ... such a fine actress, possibly the best of our time. And while I love a coming of age story, the drama in this family setting seemed unrealistic and contrived. Sure dad lost a job and they never moved out of their house on the "wrong side of the tracks". But this young woman could go to college. Something of which millions of people can't even dream. Mother-daughter arguments over which college to attend fall a bit flat when we live in a reality where so many can't attend. It started to sound a bit like silly "rich people's problems" so I sort of didn't feel super attached to any of the characters (except maybe the mom).
I liked the eccentricities of Ronan's character Lady Bird. But I feel the story line could have been much more compelling. Glad I streamed this film instead of pay for it in a theatre ;)
Read more IMDb reviews
A heartwarming movie that will touch any good parents of teenage children.
Although this movie explores much trodden territory - a Catholic schoolgirl's coming of age movie - it's one for parents of around my age (50's) rather than the teen lead it features. In that role Saiorse Ronan deservedly nets another Oscar nomination (sadly for her she is up against the imperious Frances McDormand and therefore cannot win) in a performance that is as real and as raw as any you'll see this year.
But it's not just Ronan's performance that makes this the movie it is. It's the triangular relationship between her (a disillusioned small town girl from Sacramento who dreams of the creativity and urban rawness of East Coast New York) her driven, ambitious (for her daughter) and seemingly hard-hearted, unemotional mother (Laurie Metcalfe) and her long-suffering, delightful father (Tracy Letts).
How the three deal with one another and how those relationships play out are at the heart of a movie that touches the heart-strings many times.
Take a hankie.
It's not damning Greta Gerwig's directorial debut with faint praise by describing it as nice because it really is, in the finest tradition of the word, a truly nice cinematic experience. It has grit, humour and emotion, but the overwhelming take out is just how 'nice' it is.
The first act is hilarious in which 'Lady Bird', the given name (given to herself) of Christine, her best friend Julie and her first boyfriends enact small time life, love and prom-going.
The setting, in an all girls' Catholic High School, lends itself to much hilarity, with some excellently original rebellion. My favourite scene is where 'Lady Bird' and Julie scoff a tub of communion wafers whilst talking about sex. ("It's OK. They're not consecrated.")
Although the gradual sexual fulfilment that Lady Bird experiences is nothing new Ronan's performance keeps you interested, and when the consequences lead to confrontations and discussions between her and her parents - rarely acted out as a three hander because Mum and Dad lead separate (although still loving) lives - the movie reveals its depth.
It's the relationship between mother and daughter that is the real dramatic grit in thi particular oyster. Here Gerwig teases out brilliance by both actors and it's the result of this difficult 'ambitious-mom' tension that drives the movie.
As the film reaches its climax how that plays out is what results in the handkerchief moments and leaves you emotionally satisfied in a movie that is greater than the sum of its parts.