Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird features amazing acting, directing, and music

Released in 2017, this film perfectly captures the coming of age of a suburban teen in her final year of high school


Ronan, even when simply sitting looking into the distance, somehow captures the perfect teenage look.

Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird stars Saorise Ronan as Christine McPherson (aka Lady Bird). This is the second film Gerwig has directed, her first being Nights and Weekends in 2008. Though Gerwig is best known as an actress, she’s established herself as a director with Lady Bird

The film opens with Lady Bird and her mother (Laurie Metcalf) crying in the car listening to the end of an audiobook of The Grapes of Wrath. The two quickly get into an argument about Lady Bird’s college plans (going to the east coast), which is a looming disagreement between the two throughout the film. Lady Bird precedes to jump out of the moving car, establishing the state of her relationship with her mother. 

Overall, the plot of this movie is difficult to summarize, largely because there isn’t one. Lady Bird is an eccentric senior at a Catholic high school who dreams of leaving Sacramento, where she’s lived her entire life. She struggles to get along with her mother, with whom she is constantly butting heads. Though Lady Bird has a good relationship with her father, he struggles with depression due to financial problems.

Lady Bird goes through her senior year of high school, transitioning from an awkward student who wanted to be different to someone who hangs out with the “popular” crowd, abandoning her best friend and her morals. 

With the plot alone, this film could have very easily fallen short. The writing, acting, and directing had to be spot on to sell the movie. Thankfully, they were.

Saorise Ronan delivers an excellent performance. She has an indescribable way about her, and you can’t help relating to her, though Lady Bird isn’t always a good person. She can be selfish and irritable, but it only adds to the realism of her teenage character. 

The film includes a lot of quick cuts, creating an abrupt feeling at times. To me, the cuts don’t feel frantic, they keep the pace of the movie going. There is a calm feeling to the movie, but the cuts keep it interesting. 

There is also a warmth to the whole film. The lighting is often golden and soft, especially near the end when we see shots of Sacramento. Though Lady Bird hates her hometown, by the end, as she drives around the “bends she’s known her whole life” and gets emotional, she realizes how beautiful Sacramento can be. 

I think what makes this movie for me is how real it is. It isn’t real in a painful or uncomfortable way, but rather a relatable one. Like I said, Lady Bird starts the film as selfish, but grows into herself by the end, as so many people do in real life. On the surface we only see Laby Bird’s love for Sacramento grow, I think her feeling towards the city symbolizes the love she feels towards her family. 

Though this movie wasn’t praised for its score, to me music is one of the most important aspects of any film. Calm playful guitar, indie garage rock, and swelling piano all create feelings in the viewer that only music can. Overall, Lady Bird became an immediate favorite of mine the second I watched it.