The Poly Spotlight

FLYING HIGH: Lady Bird cements its place as a must-see movie this fall.

By Isabel Morehead, Staff Writer

The trailer for the upcoming film Lady Bird opens with actors Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf driving in a car, bickering. The encounter ends when Ronan opens the car door and rolls onto the road, earning her an arm cast that is seen throughout the rest of the trailer. Ronan and Metcalf play a mother and daughter with a difficult relationship, something many kids can relate to. Metcalf is a hard-working realist, who struggles to keep the family afloat after her husband loses his job, and wishes her daughter had more realistic expectations. Ronan plays an ambitious dreamer with unrealistic hopes for her future, who longs to escape the suburban confines of Sacramento. Many teenagers can relate to the feeling of being trapped, whether it’s inside a city, a school, a family, or their own minds. This is what makes Lady Bird so special; it personally and emotionally connects with a large audience.

Many recent films have been almost exhaustingly made, all of them seemingly exploring the same cliched teenage issues. From sex and drugs to popularity and family issues, stories of teenage heroines can seem tedious and played-out. However, Lady Bird touches on many familiar experiences and emotions that remain relevant to young adults. The banal and simultaneously  life-changing experiences of youth are captured in the misadventures of Christine “Lady Bird”, the teenage star of the movie. Lady Bird is clever and bright, dreaming of having a more interesting and cultured life on the East Coast, yet she lacks the skills to get into prestigious colleges and achieve the lifestyle she wishes for, but she stubbornly will not admit her inabilities. She refuses to let anyone tell her what she can’t do, and yet doubts herself, her future, and her relationships with the people she loves. She careens between insecurity and stubbornness constantly, perfectly capturing the emotional instability of teenage girls.

Lady Bird is written and directed by Greta Gerwig, in collaboration with Noah Baumbach.  Gerwig and Baumbach have worked together on movies before, but this is the first time Gerwig has independently directed a movie. Before becoming a writer and director, Gerwig starred in iconic indie films such as Frances Ha and Mistress America. Lady Bird is based on Gerwig’s own life, which may on the surface seem self-indulgent, but she manages to make the movie not just about herself, but about the shared experiences of young adults, and particularly those of teenage girls. Gerwig has shown in her previous writing and directorial works that she is an accomplished director and keen observer of human nature. Her works masterfully blend optimism and sadness. She creates characters that are interesting not just because you admire them, but because of their complexity. Gerwig writes about relatable authentic heroines because they display negative traits along with their likeable ones. This director has exceeded expectations and demonstrated her skills behind the camera, but it will be interesting to see how Gerwig puts her personal touch on this piece.

At it’s core, Lady Bird is about the fears and insecurities we all deal with every day, making it so interesting and relatable; it is a film everyone should see.

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