BY RYAN MACKETT
WHEN a film comes along that is as critically acclaimed as Lady Bird (it’s currently sitting at 100 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, breaking a bunch of records), I sometimes worry that the film may be pretentious Oscar-bait arthouse cinema that only the critics and a select few of the movie-going elite will be able to “get.” Read another way, what I mean is that sometimes the really high-brow films that seem to get all of the attention of the critics can be less accessible to the average moviegoer.
Lady Bird is definitely not that film.
It was a delightful coming-of-age story from writer-director Greta Gerwig, a fresh new talent that will likely make a big impact on Hollywood with her unique filmmaking abilities.
Sure, there are tons of “coming of age” stories out there, and not all of them are created equal. What Gerwig was able to do with Lady Bird was craft a relentlessly authentic look at the relationship between a teenage girl (young woman, actually) and her over-protective, over-worked and seemingly-crazy-at-times mother. At the same time, the story explores the young woman’s place in the world, as she questions whether or not her current self may indeed be the “best version of herself.”
Saoirse Ronan was absolutely fantastic as Christine (Lady Bird) McPherson. Don’t be surprised if Ronan’s name pops up at Oscar season. Equally compelling was the performance from Laurie Metcalf as Marion, Christine’s mother. The on-screen chemistry between the two added a palpable amount of authenticity to the screen. The rest of the cast features the likes of Odeya Rush, Timothee Chalmet, Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) and Beanie Feldstein.
The film is classified as a comedy, a drama and a “dramedy.” To me, it most definitely was a dramatic comedy but not because the filmmakers were going for big laughs. All of the humour comes from the realism and relatable nature of the situations unfolding on screen. However, as the film is terrifically funny, it is equally heartfelt and emotional. This film is something that most people will be able to relate with on some level, and deals with some heavy themes in ways that are funny, emotional, heartbreaking, but above all authentic.
So fear not. Lady Bird is not an inaccessible high-brow film experience reserved for critics to laud and audiences to inexplicably ponder. Quite the opposite. It is one of the most relatable, charming and well-made films in recent memory, and I highly recommend it.
Ryan Mackett is an artist and film enthusiast who resides in Thunder Bay. Email questions or comments to him at email@example.com.