Lady Bird is a charming, believable, well-acted story about a deeply opinionated teenage girl named Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) who butts heads with her hard-working, deeply opinionated mom, Marion (Laurie Metcalf).
I related to the triad that takes place among mother-daughter-father Larry (Tracy Letts) where the dad tries to facilitate domestic tranquility at a time that he’s lost his job in 2002 Sacramento and is unsure of his own prospects.
My wife, daughter and I all enjoyed seeing it at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany in December 2017. Ronan was the star of Brooklyn, the very first movie I saw at the Spectrum after it had become a Landmark Theatre, and she is equally good here. Metcalf, who I still associate with the TV show Roseanne, has a loving ferociousness.
Letts, who was also in The Lovers this year, was fine, as were supporting characters such as Lady Bird’s friend Julie (Beanie Feldtein) and first potential boyfriend Danny (Lucas Hedges, the teen from Manchester by the Sea).
The movie shows kids in Catholic school without overly bashing it, and that does not happen that much.
Here’s the problem with the movie Lady Bird: not much, really. Maybe the title, which makes me think of Lyndon Baines Johnson and his wife, who was a perfectly nice First Lady who wanted to beautify America.
OK, the problem with Lady Bird has been, as Ken Levine put it, “praised to the heavens. Ten years ago it would just be considered a cute little movie.” True enough, with a 99% positive reviews in Rotten Tomatoes, and 82% among the general public.
Part of it is that it features the work of Greta Gerwig, who “reveals herself to be a bold new cinematic voice with her directorial debut.” Yikes.
My fear is that the very good movie will disappoint – “What’s the hype about? – rather than being appreciated for the very fine, small film that it is.