Lady Bird, 2017
Signed up the 28/03/2017
Lady Bird is as intentionally whimsical as it is pensive, which can sometimes turn a movie into a case-study of ingenuine storytelling, when day-to-day personal issues are a focal point in a story. It is an indie coming-of-age that by virtue tries to look trashy and improvised, and... different. This results in something between "okay, that's actually kind of cool" and "wait, I've seen this before". It's not exactly bad to have seen something before for as long as it's done right and with an air of freshness. But when a movie gets excellent reviews, it's inevitable that everyone would want to confirm or disprove the acclaim.
I've watched The Edge of Seventeen sometime this year, which is why I was unable to veer from the ton of similarities I picked up between the two movies. I mean, that whole two-person friendship dynamic that turns sour over the one friend aspiring to be in a bigger, popular crowd and so ditches her loser bestfriend for a while for a taste of the "finer" life? Come on. The only distinction I could find that sorely seperated the one from the other as a critically acclaimed, Oscars hopeful, is that Lady Bird takes a more dark comedy, mature path, what with the metaphorical, cringely grim dialog and all, than 'Seventeen's more "teeny", lighter and flashier execution.
Lady Bird also sets focus on a mother-daughter relationship, which I guess makes it more serious and a worthwhile human story- because there's an adult at the centre of the narrative, duh- than if it just merely set focus on the adventures of a troubled, sexually-confused, academically-challenged teenage girl who hates her own life to bits.
There's not much to salvage from the movie itself apart from Greta Gerwig's mouth-watering writing style, and her crafty hand as a first-time director. In one of the exchanges with her mother, Lady Bird asks whether her father's depression is tied to his career problems, the mom's goes on to tell her, "Money isn't life's report card. Being successful doesn't mean that you're happy". "But he's not happy", Lady Bird says in reponse. This exchange simply translates to "money doesn't ensure you happiness, but not having money doesn't too". How reflective yet simple, right?
I do like the unapologetic and fearless way in which the film tackles classism and capitalism. Nothing is romantised, down-played or exaggerated, which results in a genuine dialog around these matters and the people that are affected by them.
Almost every teenager or young-adult can relate to how disconnected Christine McPherson's (she would rather be refered to as "Lady Bird") feels towards her mother. It's a no-brainer that mothers (and even fathers) worry too much and are unreasonable, kill their kids' vibes and dreams and commit the worst emotional traumas, though through it all they love their children and so do all these horrible things with their kids' "best interests" at heart.
The cast acted the hell out of their respective characters which might be the movie's biggest saving grace. They truly make the movie a wonder to watch because each character offers their own charisma, charm and perspective, propelling the movie forward and keeping it fresh enough to endure.
Lady Bird is a movie tackling both intra and inter-personal relationships. It depicts the life of a young person and how they relate to the world around them as honestly as possible. We find that friendships go bad, just as romances often do. That our realities sometimes never quite live up to our desires or standards. That hope is as fragile as an Autumn leaf, which may dry and tear off at any moment. It is okay to be hopeful, though. To have dreams, to aspire to more. It is okay to be grateful, to take a moment to look around to take in and appreciate your surroundings and the people you share your life with. This is the movie's purpose all along, to let us know that it's all worth the experience, good or bad.
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