NOTE: This is a review I wrote from the Toronto International Film Festival, which I had delayed posting here.
It’s probably just my own love of Greta Gerwig that’s taking me in, but I never expected Lady Bird to be a captivating experience in the manner in which it was. The whole night after watching Lady Bird, to say the least, I was in shock because I never expected something to play out to become nearly as resonant as it was – it wasn’t just simply funny anymore. But to see that Greta Gerwig managed to touch me in such a manner right on what was her directorial debut effort, I think the safest thing for me to say is that I’m already going to love what her output will present within the future. I was left thinking, perhaps this was something I needed my whole life – and for Greta Gerwig, I couldn’t possibly be more thankful.
Lady Bird lives in a Catholic community in Sacramento. She has a difficult relationship with other family members and at school, her own anxiety has gotten in the way of personal relationships with friends at school – and she seeks a new home away from where she is. It didn’t take long before I found that Lady Bird would resonate with me as much as it did but looking back at how I’ve also spent a good amount of my own life within a Catholic community myself, oftentimes I was uncomfortable with the experiences. Uncomfortable because oftentimes it seemed I was pressured to keep my life going one way without even having enough time for me to be myself. But as things go from my own perspective, I already find it hard enough just putting everything into words without stopping so abruptly because I just know I hate conforming with everyone around me.
Everywhere I went, it was never easy to show myself as I am. I just had an uncomfortable feeling someone was watching me and judging me for what I do and how I possibly am seeing things. Of course a part of this was influenced by my own autism – but that seems to stray away from talking about Lady Bird. I look at Lady Bird’s own growth as she begins developing her own independence and quickly enough I almost see that her own experiences mirror those of my own, because there seemed to be a cost for ourselves to grow and become our own selves. It was one among many things about Lady Bird that touched me so greatly, because I still know deep down that I owe my own life to someone else no matter how strained my relationship is with them may be.
But the beauty of Lady Bird was present within how Greta Gerwig doesn’t keep this all to Lady Bird herself. The whole film dedicated itself to finding a way to grow into what you really feel you are inside of a society that seems to reject the idea. And of course there are consequences when one fails to acknowledge the importance of what such company has done to one’s own life, and I still think about it quite a lot after I fall out with my parents. My mom is constantly overprotective, and my dad has a bad drinking habit together with a terrible temper issue and oftentimes it seems so difficult to explain myself when I know they’re going to be upset either way. Then there comes Lady Bird’s difficult relationship with her own mom and thus it reminds me too much of how my own with my parents can get, often heated when we don’t understand each other.
I also would like to say that Saoirse Ronan is absolutely phenomenal in the title role. I’m not even sure that she’s ever played another role that touched me in the manner that it did here, but the way Greta Gerwig is guiding her from first scene to last was absolutely touching – for you only saw honesty in her own growth as a person but the whole way through, she still feels understanding of what she leaves upon others. Just this arc alone had moved me greatly and it still leaves me touched just thinking about her. As Lady Bird’s parents Laurie Metcalf and Tracy Letts don’t let down, but I’m also interested to see where will Timothée Chalamet be heading within his future. But I suppose I’ve got too much to say about Lady Bird herself, it’s almost overwhelming me because I never imagined she’d resonate with me this beautifully.
I’m not even sure what Greta Gerwig has for us up next, but if it’s anything near what Lady Bird was, I’ll be damned. I’m not even sure if I can properly express what Lady Bird feels like now, at least because I finally started college and have gained a sense of freedom on my own end. I feel I’ll still be thinking about what’s going to be happening to me for the next few years when I know I’ll have to let go of where I once was, and I’m only getting nervous about what happens if I don’t make it to where I wish. I don’t even know if I can properly thank Greta Gerwig for this experience, because I don’t know how I possibly doubted it would hit me this hard. From every conversation to every moment of looking back, Lady Bird was simply everything I could have asked for and then some more.
Watch the trailer right here.
All images via A24.
Directed by Greta Gerwig
Screenplay by Greta Gerwig
Produced by Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Evelyn O’Neil
Starring Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Lois Smith
Release Year: 2017
Running Time: 93 minutes