Though Greta Gerwig has had plentiful scripting experience to complement her always exciting acting career, Lady Bird marks her debut in the world of directing (and writing alone). We’re very pleased to report that Gerwig can add another string to her multitalented bow, with Lady Bird a triumph; warm, witty, and properly laugh out loud funny.
It’s a blast of nostalgia for early noughties America, following the self-named Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) through her final year at a Catholic high school in 2002 Sacramento, the time evoked by old-fashioned phones and a carefully curated soundtrack. What immediately sets Gerwig’s film apart is that Lady Bird is, in most ways, distinctly average, which grounds the film in a reality from which richer emotions and laughs can flow.
Arguments with her mum Marion (Laurie Metcalf, superb and nuanced), dances with her friends, and awkward early romances are all handled expertly by Gerwig and her brilliant cast. Ronan, despite having already played more adult characters, fully sells the role of an anxious, excitable 17 year old, supported wonderfully by some of the smartest young actors working today, in Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet.
Even though some of the jokes are rather obvious, Lady Bird is hugely funny from start to finish, witty writing and sharp sight gags earning the steady stream of laughs one would expect from Gerwig. Though it is very focused on one girl’s particular adolescence (and all the better for it), everyone is bound to recognise at least one moment from their own youth, and the whole film is irresistibly exuberant.
It would be hard to imagine someone to whom we could not recommend Lady Bird. At points it’s rather slight, but when a film is this much fun with such a big heart, it’s impossible to not be won over.
CAST: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalfe, Tracy Letts, Beanie Feldstein, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet
DIRECTOR: Greta Gerwig
WRITER: Greta Gerwig
SYNOPSIS: The adventures of a young woman living in Northern California for a year.