Movie Review - Lady Bird
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn and Atonement) stars as Christine McPherson aka Lady Bird, a 17-year-old girl who is a senior at a Catholic high school for girls. There are male, possibly non-Catholic teachers, but the principal is a nun, played by Lois Smith (Marjorie Prime and Minority Report). Lady Bird has at the top of her brain the desire to get out of her home town of Sacramento and go to the east coast, either New York City or Boston. This is unlike her adopted brother, Miguel, played by Jordan Rodrigues, who is resigned to stay in Sacramento.
She seems driven not necessarily by a hatred of Sacramento but a disappointment of it or her standing in it. Lady Bird says Sacramento has no culture, not like the cities of the northeast. It's not to say she wouldn't enjoy some place like San Francisco, which is only a hour-and-a-half away, but she would prefer an eastern city. Some of this disappointment stems from her embarrassment over her family's financial situation.
Gerwig has acted in the screenplays she's written, or rather co-written, but there are a few comparisons to be made to a film in which she acted but didn't write. Last year, Gerwig was featured in Mike Mills' 20th Century Women, a film where Mills basically painted a portrait of not only Santa Barbara but also of his childhood. It's almost as if Gerwig left Mills' film and decided to do the same thing he did. Except, Gerwig's film is more effective, if only because her film is more focused. Mills was perhaps juggling too many characters and too many external elements.
Gerwig overall has a better sense of humor. This shows in her sense of editing, which is superb. She knows how to make a joke or hit a funny moment in a scene and cut away at the right time to make it punch. For those of us in the same age group as Gerwig, which I am, I also appreciated the music choices, being a child of the 90's, there is a lot that Gerwig gets right here.
Rated R for language, sexual content, brief nudity and teen partying.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 33 mins.