Friday, November 15, 2019

Bye, Bye Birdy

Lady Bird (2017) - Gerwig
Lady Bird
Whether you have preconceived notion about the film's creators' gender, race and upbringing, because...whatever the reason - not universal enough, too era specific, too narrowly personal, Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird is a great coming of age film. It's endlessly charming and you want it to go on much longer after its short one hour 30 some minute running time. The film concerns Christine "Lady Bird" (played by Saorise Ronan), who is a senior at Sacred Heart Catholic high school. She is from a low income working class family in Sacramento suburbs. Her mild mannered aging dad is just about to lose his job. Her adaptive brother works at a grocery store with his live in girlfriend, the same grocery chain the family has been going for years. Her hard working nurse mom (played perfectly by the great Laurie Metcalf) is struggling the family finances.

Lady Bird longs to get away from Sacramento to some liberal art college in the East Coast. In the mean time, she will need to be content with being a high schooler in a mondane setting and engage in some mischiefs, romance and do the best she can at being herself.

Gerwig, who is known for her screen persona as an endlessly charming underachiever in such films as Francis Ha, naturally translates that energy in her script. Lady Bird is not some jaded know it all but rather, comes across as a genuine goofball who is growing up to be a unique person and personality. Sure there are archetypes around her - a closeted gay theater major, a brooding bassist who reads Howard Zinn, a rich girl who has a tanning bed in her house, etc. But Lady Bird feels genuine. Ronan blends in to a role easily, despite her beautiful grown up face that goes against the high school type.

Lady bird is a funny, genuine and heartfelt coming of age film that are rare in American films. I guess I have to see The Edge of Seventeen next.