The recently released movie 'Lady Bird' is a delightful coming-of-age movie that I can't recommend highly enough. I actually saw it during the Toronto International Film Festival at the end of the summer with my entire family; my husband, two grown daughters (19 & 24) and my 21-year-old son - and we all adored it, which is really saying something.
It is a refreshing tale of a strong-willed, though slightly confused and sometimes misguided young woman played with startling depth and compassion by Saoirse Ronan.
Question - isn't every teenager confused and misguided? Isn't that why coming-of-age tales are verdant terrain for literature and movies? For this reason, we can empathize and relate and generally wish for a positive outcome as we were all once in that difficult stage between childhood and adulthood.
Lady Bird* is the name that the main character has given herself for no explicable reason except her given name of Christine McPherson seems too normal and lame to embody her wild and willful persona.
Greta Gerwig wrote the screenplay and this is her first foray into directing a feature film. Previously she has written and produced Mistress America and acted in Maggie's Plan and 20th Century Women among others. She should be immensely proud and consider this charming picture a total triumph. I'm not the only one who thinks so. The movie has scored 100% from RottenTomatoes critics and 91% from audience members.
The setting is Sacramento, California circa 2002 and main plot points revolve around Lady Bird's relationships; with her friends and family but mostly with herself, as she struggles to complete her last year of high school and create a future for herself that excites her.
The movie opened this past weekend in limited release and will roll out in more theatres over the next little while. According to Jezebel, it broke box office records and that fills my heart with hope that maybe Hollywood is finally realizing that female centric movies, and those made by women, are not only good for the soul but also good for business as they appeal to so many of us eager for some portrayals of women as fully rounded and capable humans.
Here's an empowering quote from Ms. Gerwig in the current Bust magazine on whose cover she graces.
"I like writing about women in relation to other women - mothers and daughters, friends, sisters, mentors, employees and employers, et cetera - because men don't know what women do when they aren't there. These are powerful, complicated, rich relationships that deserve their own place in the collection of stories we tell ourselves about what it means to be human ."
We are not powerless and oftentimes our power lies in our wallet. I encourage you to spend your precious time and money on this sweet movie experience. If you like movies and stories that are heavy on character and truth and humour, I can confidently say you will enjoy this little gem.
*Have you ever given yourself a different name? If you have, what is it, and if you haven't but did, what would it be? Mine is groovymamma.