I've only visited Sacramento once, back in 2010, but I was struck by the simple beauty of the city. In that same vein, I was similarly struck by how beautifully Lady Bird presents both the story of Christine 'Lady Bird' McPherson and the city the movie takes place in.
I grew up watching John Hughes movies like The Breakfast Club & Pretty in Pink. In many ways, Lady Bird feels like a return to that tradition of high school storytelling; the coming of age drama complete with existential crises, first dates, first loves, and the desire to leave everything familiar behind to go to college in New York City.
I really enjoyed the movie. It starts strong, showing the tense but familiar relationship between Lady Bird & her mother. (Saoirse Ronan & Laurie Metcalf) As the school year starts, we are introduced Lady Bird's best friend Julie, played remarkably by Beanie Feldstein, and the story takes off from there.
I'm not going to bore you with a point by point description of the plot, it's well worth going to see for yourself, especially on the big screen. What I will tell you is how true to life the story felt, especially with the relationship between Lady Bird and her mother. The passive aggressive nature of emotional abuse that seeps in, despite the love surrounding family members, was incredibly portrayed.
The other "half" of the movie is the setting. Lady Bird desperately wants to leave Sacramento, she wants to go somewhere "with culture," and is set on going to college on the east coast. The cinematography as the movie navigates the city is fantastic. It both celebrates the city and shows the divide between affluent & working class simply, but beautifully.
Near the end of the movie, two characters are talking about love, and how in a way, attention itself is a form of love. It's clear that Greta Gerwig loves her story, her setting, and her characters, because the attention to detail is really wonderful.
While I was in the theater watching the movie, it won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, and Saoirse Ronan won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. The real crime is that while Greta Gerwig was nominated for Best Screenplay, she wasn't nominated as Best Director. The film is beautiful, funny, moving, and most importantly, it FEELS real.
Sixteen Candles & Pretty In Pink have been held up over the past few decades as examples of what it was like to be a girl in high school in the 80's. It's my hope that Lady Bird claims that spot moving forward as the example of what it was like to be a woman in high school in the early 2000's, written & directed by a woman.
Final Word - GO SEE IT.