Welcome to the review of the movie with the highest Rotten Tomatoes score EVER! But first, shouldn’t the movie with the highest score ever have a better poster? Nothing about the above screams YOU MUST SEE ME! That minor problem aside, in the movie Lady Bird notes that she is a good observer. More accurately, I would say that Greta Gerwig, writer and director, is a very observant person. This much ballyhooed effort starts off slowly, leaving one to wonder what all the fuss is about. Then, as you notice the slights, the embarrassments, the embellishments, the lies, you remember what it was like to grow up, not that you necessarily want to remember.
It is 2002 and Christine is entering her senior year at an all girls Catholic school. She hates her name and wants to be called Lady Bird. She literally lives on the wrong side of the tracks in Sacramento which she refers to as the Midwest of California. Yearning to go to college on the East Coast, she understands that her grades and her parents’ finances are problematic. Her father, the softy, loses his job, and her mother, certain that her daughter is ungrateful, works two shifts. Her brother and his girlfriend graduated from Berkeley but are working in low-end retail positions. And, did I mention boys, and best friends, and cliques. Lots to deal with as a young lady.
If you saw Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn, you knew she was going to be an actress to be reckoned with. Arguably at 23, she is slightly too old to pass as 17, nevertheless, she immerses herself in the character and is a delight to watch. Laurie Metcalf (Marion) has lines on her face for every insult, perceived or otherwise, heaped upon her by her daughter and life. Tracy Letts (Larry) is that kind gentle soul who helps his daughter keep secrets. Lucas Hedges (Danny) is her first boyfriend, talented but with his own issues. Beanie Feldstein (Julie) is her best friend forever, well maybe not forever, yes forever, if you get my drift. Hey, it’s high school!
I would describe Lady Bird as a roller coaster. Trying to get to the top is a strain, then you have moments of sheer terror and exhilaration, up and down, over and over. Except in this case, it has more to do with your emotions. If you don’t want to re-visit the “are we still going to the dance” and the “will I get accepted” and the “what if I get caught” moments of life, then by all means avoid this flick. In fairness, Lady Bird likely matured faster than one would in real life, but given the time constraints of the movie, it was a satisfying ending. Overall, I can understand why the critics like this movie; you just hafta’ know what happens to this unhappy girl. Life packs a punch and she punches back. Good for her!
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