Movie of the Month: Lady Bird

Yikes, yikes, yikes, I can’t believe it’s the last day of November. But I guess tomorrow I can start listening to Christmas music! I watched a lot of movies in November, I mean a lot of movies (I guess that’s what happens when your school’s on strike), so picking my favourite one was hard. I might have written about Thor Ragnorok but I decided I’ve written about a lot of Marvel superhero movies and that I need to change it up a bit. So as my title suggests, this month I am writing about Lady Bird. I had heard so many good things about this movie through people on social media and on my Reader that I decided I had to see it. So I trekked for like over an hour to a theatre where it was screening (it was a limited release in Canada) and it was so worth it. Lady Bird is about a girl named Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), a senior in high school in Sacramento, California, who is figuring out who she is and what she wants to do after high school. It’s a great coming of age story about friends, family, relationships, love, and finding yourself.

The acting in this movie was outstanding. This movie really delved into the various relationship that a teenage girl has in her life – her best friend, her parents, her significant other. Lady Bird interacts with each of these people in her life very differently  (I guess we all do in real life) but also very similarly. Seeing Ronan being able to play different parts within the role of Lady Bird was really wonderful to see. Lady Bird’s relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) was a high point for both actors. Lady Bird and her mother have a very strained relationship but it’s not portrayed in the stereotypical “I’m 17 and I hate you” rebellious way. Rather it’s more subtle and more passive aggressive. They argue about seemingly trivial things, like what dress to wear to her boyfriend’s family’s Thanksgiving, but these arguments really show what’s important to each of these characters. They may not understand each other but it’s clear that they really do love each other. The only relationship that was a little bit cliche was the relationship between Lady Bird and her best friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein). From the beginning, you get that there’s a little bit of competition between the girls and that Lady Bird has a need to come out on top. But that gets squashed when Julie gets the better role in the school musical. In an effort to find herself and be the best, Lady Bird pushes Julie aside and starts hanging out with the “cool kids.” Dejected, Julie starts hanging out other friends. In the end when things don’t work out for Lady Bird, she comes crawling back to her, apologizing for everything she’s done and Julie happily welcomes her back to best friend status.

I also really appreciated the simple, yet complex nature of the film. The movie simply follows Lady Bird over the course of a year from the beginning of her senior year of high school to the beginning of her first year of college. It’s just life as it’s lived. In terms of action, nothing terribly exciting happens, it’s all very ordinary. But as I mentioned before, it was more about the personal relationships that complicate things. I think it’s very reflective of real life – high school and growing up is not that exciting, it’s all about the people you meet along the way that make life interesting and make life what it is. But as seen in this movie, you don’t need a lot of action to make a really good, exciting film. I was so intrigued by the plot and what Lady Bird would do next and that kept me hooked. The filming itself was also super simple. There was lots of long shots, for example of a conversation happening between two characters, and not a lot of camera movement and action. I thought this was really nice and it added to the story. I also loved the location and setting of the movie. The movie was shot in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and New York City. All of these locations allowed for some really stunning visual shots. It was also great that they actually shot the movie in Sacramento because so much of the plot of the movie revolves around the fact that it takes place in Sacramento and that Lady Bird wants to leave.

This was also a great feminist film without it being in your face about feminism. It’s about The movie was directed by Greta Gerwig and the movie is influenced by her life – a girl with big dreams and big ideas. The sexist stereotypes that so often appear in movies, like that in order to be a strong female character, she needs to look perfect and be strong and action oriented, fade away. Rather in this movie, all the female characters are strong characters because they know what they want and aren’t afraid to go after what they want. But they also aren’t afraid to be vulnerable. It breaks a lot of stereotypes. I don’t think by any means that Lady Bird and Julie were meant to be the prettiest girls in school, like many female protagonists are – Ronan didn’t even wear makeup to cover up her acne. The costumes are also modest. It’s just overall a refreshing take on what it means to be a feminist film.

This movie is honest, subtle, smart, and uplifting. It’s a movie for anyone who has big dreams and wants something more out of life. It’ll warm your heart and make you cry and it will make you see things in a new way. I think it’s definitely worth the 100% that it has on Rotten Tomatoes and that it’ll be a movie to keep an eye on come Oscar nominations.

What was your favourite movie that you watched this month? Let me know in the comments!

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