Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts
Director: Greta Gerwig
Running Time: 94 mins
Lady Bird is an American film about a teenage girl who, on the eve of her high school graduation, comes of age in the city of Sacramento.
This is a really good film. Not only is it a fantastic and riveting coming-of-age story, but also a movie that’s full of heart, humour and energy from start to finish, not to mention an exceptional cast and fantastic directing from Greta Gerwig, all of which comes together to make a fairly common story feel completely fresh and full of life, making for a hugely captivating watch.
There’s a lot to love about Lady Bird, but what impressed me most about the film was undoubtedly its humour and energy. In truth, the story at hand is the typical coming-of-age story, where we see a young woman change dramatically over the course of a tumultuous few months in which she learns about the truths of life and the world around her. However, that story doesn’t feel tired in the slightest in Lady Bird, simply because it’s delivered in such a vibrant and entertaining way throughout.
The first scene alone sets up the atmosphere for the whole movie brilliantly. Yes, there’s drama, and some very deep emotional drama at that, but it’s never a film to take itself too seriously, and it always manages to bring a bit of joy, heart and fun with some good comedy here and there, built on more so by strong and fairly rapid pacing, and a whole host of excellent performances.
In that, director Greta Gerwig deserves a lot of praise for getting this movie so right. It feels a lot like the experience of watching The Edge Of Seventeen, another fast-paced and energetic coming-of-age story that’s just as entertaining. With great humour mixed in with brilliant drama throughout, Lady Bird proves a perfectly balanced teenage drama, and it doesn’t ever think too much of itself when being quirky or emotionally deep, something that I was absolutely delighted to see.
What’s more is that all of the performances manage to strike the same balance just as well. Saoirse Ronan is fantastic in the lead role, managing to make what on paper seems like another irritating and entitled teenager not only a likable presence, but also a very genuine one, meaning that you’re so easily able to understand and empathise with her worries and troubles throughout, deepening your intrigue significantly.
But the great thing about this movie is that it’s not just about the Lady Bird herself (Saoirse Ronan), but also manages to give the supporting cast enough time to shine and add both breadth and depth to the story. For example, Tracy Letts is delightful as the father, Beanie Feldstein is brilliant as the girl’s best friend, but most of all is the performance from Laurie Metcalf, which is undoubtedly one of the strongest performances of any film this year.
Ronan is an excellent lead, and proves very entertaining throughout, but it’s Metcalf’s deeply layered and very genuine performance, as a mother struggling to balance looking after her child in a difficult situation with her own problems and hardships, that gives the film its most powerful emotional drama.
On the whole, I absolutely loved Lady Bird. Not only is it a great coming-of-age story, but a film that takes an age-old story and breathes fresh life into it with brilliant directing throughout, balancing excellent comedy, humour and brilliantly entertaining energy with a very heartfelt, genuine and moving dramatic story, not to mention a collection of superb performances across the board, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.3.