Lady Bird Soars High

Authentic and sincere, relevant and relatable, well-written and excellently acted, Lady Bird struck me as one of the best coming of age movies in recent years.

LB poster

Set in Sacramento, California, at  the beginning of the 21st century, the film sketches the life of protagonist Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson in her senior year of high school.  Facing one of the biggest transitions in her life, Lady Bird relentlessly pilots through possibilities, combats perceived adversities, and paves a road she believes will lead to independence and happiness.  Complexity of the world unfolds little by little through these impulsive, dramatic, and sometimes naïve endeavors.  And Lady Bird finally sheds her last few down feathers and starts her life on her own.  All seem to look and sound familiar, but the universality of the story echoes beautifully with my heart, and poses a question far from mundane: what helps us go through the things that are in our way to becoming adults?

LB1

By adults, I certainly do not simply mean people above certain physical age.  At the end of the film, Christine (she has stopped calling herself Lady Bird) does the one thing that symbolizes the maturity and wholesomeness of mind that the film tries to uphold.  The fruition of her self-awareness appears natural and spontaneous, as her conscience and sensitivity have helped her recollect past events and come to a realization of the love and affection she has been receiving.  For that, I consider Christine fortunate.

Lady Bird also radiates with emotions that are both raw and tender, thanks to the fine skills of young film-maker Greta Gerwig, and no less significantly, the daughter-mother duo brilliantly played by Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf.  Such female-centered cast and crew bravely contribute a unique, refreshing feminine voice and style rare in today’s movies.

LB set

In my humble opinion, despite the accolades it deserves, Lady Bird has yet to measure up to history’s best coming of age movies, perhaps partly because such genre often times shines over time.  Among my favorites, The 400 Blows reflects a growing boy’s struggle and despair in a simpler, purer way; The Breakfast Club synchronizes a group of youths’ thoughts into a profound melody; The Last Picture Show reveals and sympathizes the decline of morality through the restlessness and aimlessness of a generation; Boyhood transcends the limits of time and space to pay tribute to the power of love.  It is my sincere hope that Lady Bird will continue to be a rare gem twenty years from now.  WZ

All images in this article are from the internet and owned by A24 Films.

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