Teen angst. We all had it. Many of us relive it through our kids while futilely trying to head it off at the pass. It’s a common story, and it is the story of Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson. A girl raised in Sacramento (so she already has our sympathies) by working class parents who make sacrifices to send her to private school, manage a budget, just keep the train on the tracks.
Desperate To Leave the Nest
Lady Bird, played by Saoirse Ronan (on track for another Oscar nomination), gave the nickname to herself and struggles to get family, teachers, classmates etc. call her by that name. She is not just rejecting the name given to her, LB is also rejecting the life given to her. The movie opens by diving right into the contentious relationship she has with her earnest, frazzled, and tone deaf mom played by Laurie Metcalf. The fight is over college choices and ends in a super dramatic action. Over the top? Yes. Does it get the point across and immerse us in their world? Definitely.
But before she can go to college she has to get through her senior year. We follow her attempts at love (Spoiler alert: she goes 0-2 in angsty dramatic fashion), making friends, and forging her own path. Along the way she gets hurt. She hurts people. But little to none of this trampling of fellow human beings is malicious. It is life. It is her life. It is the life of millions of people every day.
Again, there is nothing inherently unique about the story of Lady Bird the character. But the movie Lady Bird is nothing short of extraordinary. Two amazing performances by Ronan & Metcalf compel you to watch and challenge your memories of childhood with a more realistic version of what really happened back in the day. Their on screen relationship is as painful as it is loving. If the scene with the letter doesn’t break your heart then go see a cardiologist because you may not have one!
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill, the drink of choice of angsty teens for decades. We can think of nothing better to help you identify with Miss Lady Bird, though your palate may revolt!