Thursday, November 30, 2017

Weekly Rec: Lady Bird

You probably don't need me to tell you that Lady Bird is a great movie. It's getting lots of raves and beating Rotten Tomatoes records and whatnot, but apparently I liked it enough that I feel the need to say: It really is that good! (I'm always skeptical of things with lots of hype. Maybe you are too. But then I guess I'm adding to the hype rather than reassuring you. Oops.)

Lady Bird, written and directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan, is a coming-of-age story of a high school senior in Sacramento in the 2002-03 school year. She's determinedly weird and artistic and chafes against what she sees as the limitations imposed by her Catholic school and working class family. She falls in love. She tries out for the school play. She applies to colleges. She fights with her mother and her best friend. That sounds boring, but it's exquisite and authentic. I'm a few years older than the protagonist, close enough that almost all the references felt directly taken from my late high school and college years: The too-cool boy reading Howard Zinn. The Sondheim. The cloves. The Dave Matthews song.

And yet, beyond all those specifics, Lady Bird manages to feel true on a universal level. Even if the details are different, the incredible and agonizing process of growing up and figuring out who you are and how you relate to your family and friends and the world resonates with a lot of people. And even if you're not particularly interested in those themes, it's just a well-made film: The writing and acting and production design and everything are precise and excellent. (I went with my dad. He has never been a teen girl, but he loved it too.)

Lady Bird is currently in wide release. Go see it!

(Weekly recommendations made possible by my wonderful Patreon supporters!)

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