Lady Bird has been receiving an incredible amount of hype in the past few months. Not least because Saoirse Ronan was nominated for her third Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She didn’t win, as Frances McDormand won for Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. I can’t really be too disappointed with that though, because it was well deserved.
Lady Bird is hard for me to describe, primarily because there is no real ‘thing’ that happens. There is no climax to the film, really. It is, however, a brilliant portrayal of a fraught relationship between a strong willed teenager, and her equally strong willed mother. Lady Bird’s mother is played by Laurie Metcalf, and their onscreen relationship is as if they were actually related.
The film is a typical coming of age story: the main character navigates her first relationship, sex, fitting in, making friends, learning to drive, going to college. Add to that the fact that she attends a private Catholic school while her own family is far from wealthy. The story is just one that was interesting to watch, without a huge pull on my heartstrings.
I have to be honest though, I think I enjoyed Lady Bird so much because it reminded me of my relationship with my own mother. We are both strong willed, independent women who love each other but also are hard on each other. It’s also a film I enjoyed as it was written and directed by a woman, Greta Gerwig, and it predominantly focuses around women. The men in the film are secondary.
It seems fitting that I saw it the day before International Women’s Day and spent the day itself ruminating on what it meant to me. I think it makes a lot of sense, and as someone who watches a lot of coming of age films, I do think it’s one that will stand with me for a while. It’s not pretending to be more than it is: a film about a daughter, her mother, and how they navigate their lives around each other, and in spite of each other.