Finding ourselves can be a challenging task, especially for someone just coming of age. Learning what it means to be ourselves while in the throes of adolescence can be frustrating, challenging and maddening as we seek to figure out who we are in the myriad aspects of our lives. That’s the test put to an offbeat teen on the verge of adulthood in the quirky new comedy-drama, “Lady Bird” (web site, trailer).
Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) wants to fit in, but she’s not sure how, given that her sensibilities and tastes aren’t exactly the norm. As a colorful free spirit, Lady Bird seems to know who she is and what she likes, but she has difficulty integrating herself into the culture of her staid Catholic high school. She also has issues with her working class family, especially her control freak mother (Laurie Metcalf).
The film follows Lady Bird as she seeks to find her way in numerous areas of her life, including making plans for her impending college experience, finding her way as a have-not in a world of unrepentant haves (such as her snobby classmate Jenna (Odeya Rush)), navigating the world of dating with a pair of would-be suitors (Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet) and getting along with members of faculty (Lois Smith, Jake McDorman, Stephen McKinley Henderson). It makes for a rather full plate – and one whose contents aren’t always satisfying or palatable.
Fortunately, Lady Bird is not without her supporters, such as her doting father (Tracy Letts), who does his best to help balance things despite work and financial challenges of his own, and her retiring but supportive classmate Julie (Beanie Feldstein), who’s in awe of her friend’s charisma and provides a much-needed sense of stability. Together they help to keep Lady Bird grounded enough to avoid going off the deep end, a very real possibility given all of the issues she’s attempting to juggle.
Through her diverse life experiences, Lady Bird works at figuring it all out. Each episode helps her come closer to discovering what it means to be her. The road may be a little bumpy, but the journey is certainly never dull.
For the most part, this mildly amusing, sometimes-surprising, occasionally observant adolescent tale does a capable job of tickling viewers’ funny bones, though at times it seems a little more preoccupied with its own sense of rampant quirkiness than telling a cohesive, cogent story (as is the case with virtually every Greta Gerwig project, even though she’s doing her work behind the camera this time). Enjoy the fine performances by Metcalf and Ronan (who actually seems a bit old to be playing a teenager), and laugh at the refreshing humor, but don’t expect groundbreaking cinema here. After all, one can only watch these kinds of stories so many times before the formula starts to get a little stale.
Nevertheless, for the teenage nonconformists out there, “Lady Bird” provides a reassuring mirror for those with a different take on the world. They get a chance to see that they’re not alone, that the unique traits that define them aren’t as strange or unacceptable as some might make them out to be, that it’s okay to be oneself, no matter how atypical. It’s something those of us who are a little bit longer in the tooth may want to pay attention to as well.
In the Top 100
I’m pleased to announce that my web site’s Blog Page has been named a Top 100 Movie Blog by Feedspot.com, a blog aggregation site designed to connect web users with an array of different sites categorized by topic. I’m honored to join the ranks of this fine collection of movie-related web sites, and I promise to do my level-best to live up to this distinction.
By the way, if it seems like my blog posts have been a bit scarce lately, you’re right. I’ve recently been traveling and tackling a pile of personal and professional matters, so my entries have been a bit more sporadic than I’d like. But, with those issues behind me now, I’m back, and I’m ready to write! As we enter this year’s movie awards season, there are plenty of new releases coming to theaters over the next few months, and I plan to be on top of them. I’ll also offer my insights on the nominees of this year’s awards competitions, including my annual predictions. And, of course, there’ll be announcements about all of my upcoming media appearances, including my regular radio segments and my special broadcasts geared toward awards season topics and discussions of my writings. Stay tuned!
Attention Ebook Fans
I’m thrilled to announce that my new book, Third Real: Conscious Creation Goes Back to the Movies, is now in ebook format! The title is available for various e-readers from Amazon Kindle, Nook and Kobo Books, with an iTunes release coming soon. For more information, visit my web site’s Store Page or the book’s official web site, where you can find details about all of the available formats and retailers.
Get a heaping hot cup of stimulating cinema chat on the latest edition of TheCoffeeCast with host Tom Cheevers, available by clicking here. Join Tom and me as we discuss my new book, Third Real: Conscious Creation Goes Back to the Movies. Tune in for some caffeinated conversation!
Copyright © 2017, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.