Review: Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig’s affectionate and consistently funny coming of age story is a dynamic female character driven joy. Armed with sensationally note perfect turns from Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird is the sort of teen movie that deserves to be seen with a big crowd. Laugh out loud funny, full of heart and a welcomed emotional pay off. An outright winner!

Greta Gerwig’s rise as one of the most confident and humanist film makers to come out of the United States is cemented with her directorial debut Lady Bird. She manages to not only capture the feel of a sun drenched Sacramento in the early 2000s but, through some decidedly understated performances, the real slippery slope that is the relationship between a mother and her wayward daughter. Ne’er treating them like caricatures or stereotypes, Gerwig’s affection for her characters shines through strongest and the consistent wall of laughs and sighs the film illicits acts as testament.

Self monickered Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) is in her final year at Catholic School in Sacramento, California. She’s from an impoverished family on the wrong side of the tracks, has a sharp tongue and a prickly relationship with her long suffering, overworked mother Marion (a career best Laurie Metcalf). Lady Bird dreams of running off to a prestigious college but sadly lacks the grades or the money to get her there. On top of all of this, she’s beginning to explore boys and break out of her single friend circle Julie (Beanie Feldstein) and get into the rich cool crowd. She talks the talk, but can Lady Bird actually walk the walk?

What makes Lady Bird such a delight to watch is how honestly and sincerely these character’s interactions are shaped. There’s a real sincerity in the way Gerwig has directed the film, she’s a real find, and note perfect performances from her central leads drive home the quite heavy emotional heft the runs under the film. Alongside this, the film is rapid fire funny and quirky which keeps proceedings moving at a thrift pace. That this is driven by totally female voices, yes men take a backseat here, is a refreshing one as Gerwig navigates some quite intense situations all from a woman’s perspective. And it wins.

Lady Bird is one the funniest, most endearing and humane films to hit cinemas in years. For the teen comedy crowd, you’ll be more than well serviced here. For the adult comedy crowd, there’s enough depth and meat on Lady Bird‘s bones to have you engaged, too.  This is a delightful, thoughtful film and shouldn’t be missed.

★★★★1/2

LADY BIRD releases on 15 FEBRUARY, 2018 in AUSTRALIA through UNIVERSAL PICTURES