Lady Bird (2017)

Lady Bird

Lady Bird is a quiet miracle. There’s nothing to suggest that a semi-autobiographical story of Greta Gerwig’s upbringing in Sacramento – complete with boy troubles, fights with her parents and clashes with her Catholic school – should attract such rave reviews or this level of awards attention.

Except the film. This coming of age story is so familiar, so authentic that it has something that’ll resonate with everyone. We’ve all clashed with our parents; we’ve all had romantic misadventures best forgotten; we’ve all felt stifled by our home town. We’ve all dreamed of something better. Gerwig takes these familiar elements and – with the aid of a phenomenal cast (Saoirse Ronan! Laurie Metcalf! Tracy Letts! Lucas Hedges!) – spins them into something spectacular. Lady Bird is funny without contrivance, emotional without melodrama, and delicately captures the fragile experimentation with identity that defines the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

There are minor nitpicks, sure; Timothée Chalamet’s character is drawn too broadly, and Ronan’s hair dye is implausibly consistent for someone from a family doing it tough. But this is a story of imperfections, a story that honestly grapples with the messiness of teen years while recognising that these years aren’t as apocalyptic as they seemed.

4 stars

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