‘Lady Bird’ is the coming of age movie we need

Often times coming of age films can be routine and repetitive, but what Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” does is fresh. The movie has the basics of a coming-of-age flick. It shows someone grows up in an emotional, physical, and mental standpoint. What Lady Bird does is different, too an extent. The movie is paced in a way that does not let you sit in the moment.
Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson is a senior at a Catholic girl’s school in Sacramento, California. Her nickname is Lady Bird, which was given to her by herself. She insists on being called Lady Bird, just as she insists on being different. And I know what you are saying right now “oh great another high school movie about a kid who is different but actually smarter than everyone,” but Lady Bird does not approach High School like its precursors.
Lady Bird is a very fast-paced film. The runtime is an hour and thirty-three minutes. All ninety-three minutes of it are packed with emotion. The performances from Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) and Laurie Metcalf (Marion McPherson) are incredible. Metcalf makes her case for a best-supporting-actress.
The story is told in moments, taking you from the beginning of the school year to graduation in a blur. We see experiences that shape Lady Bird’s life in short bursts. Everything that happens so suddenly is an acknowledgment of how teenage life works. The movie does not try to milk out scenes unless it needs to. So when you see a character go through a lot at once, you have only a few seconds to react until it cuts to three weeks later.
This pace forces the viewer to move on with the characters. You are never left guessing how far along the story moved. The editing is sharp and concise, allowing one to get the full scope of emotions in a small time. The movie’s cinematography is simple, with a combination of driving shots establishing the hometown of Sacramento. There is also a lot of stills that give the illusion of a stage play.
A central idea found in the film is related to something lots of Metea students go through. Just like her characters, Director Greta Gerwig also grew up in Sacramento. The main goal for Lady Bird is to get out of her hometown and move east for college. Something I’ve seen in Naperville or Aurora is all the people who say they do not want to be “stuck here.” At the end of the movie, Lady Bird gets her driver’s license. Whilst driving for the first time by herself, she takes solace in the natural beauty and feeling of the place she has known all her life. This struck me as a commentary on how we take where we grow up, all the little things about it, for granted.
Around Oscar season, look for Lady Bird to snag a nomination for Best Picture, and Best Original Screenplay. The movie’s originality was not in the genre, it was in the story and pace of the film. The endearing characters and fresh flow are what made this movie great. My rating is a 9/10.