Author Topic: Lady Bird  (Read 6875 times)

MMSouth

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Re: Lady Bird
« Reply #555 on: October 17, 2017, 09:55:55 AM »
http://www.slashfilm.com/lady-bird-review/
‘Lady Bird’ Review: Saoirse Ronan Leads Greta Gerwig’s Lovely Coming-of-Age Tale [New York Film Festival]
Posted on Monday, October 16th, 2017 by Karen Han

Love hurts. Whether it’s platonic, romantic, or familial, the relationships that we build are rarely as clean or as kind as we usually see on screen. Part of what makes Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird so remarkable is her refusal to shy away from that ugliness and how, as a result, the film becomes all the more beautiful.

Lady Bird follows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) as she navigates her last year of high school. Her dissatisfaction with her life in the suburbs (she wants to go to college on the East Coast) is compounded by financial anxieties — her family may not be able to afford tuition to the colleges she really wants to attend, and she pretends they’re in a different income bracket in order to impress her new friends — as well as her romantic hopes and disappointments, and her fractious relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf).

These are all themes that have been covered in film countless times before, but rarely with the kind of candid touch that Gerwig has. For instance, even though Christine has her heart broken by Danny (Lucas Hedges, one of the best young actors working today), that hurt doesn’t discount the fond feelings that she ultimately still has for him. The glee she expresses after their first kiss — as soon as she’s alone, she dances and screams in the middle of the street — is a layer rather than a piece to be picked up or discarded. It can’t be completely forgotten; it just has other things built on top of it, and they both come around to the realization that things went south not because of any inherent hurt, but simply because they’re still growing up. It’s the sort of detail that rings true to life. Emotions take their own time to run their course — they’re not dictated by knowing logically when something’s over.

Of course, this is all the more complicated when it comes to family. Lady Bird’s center is the relationship between Christine and her mother, and Metcalf’s performance is a knockout. As there often is between a parent and a child, there’s a fundamental disconnect in the way that they communicate with each other. There are the things that Christine wants to hear, and then, separate from them, there are the things that her mother is able to say. When Christine finally asks her mother if she likes her, it’s a heartbreaking moment. She knows her mother loves her; that’s guaranteed. But liking her isn’t.
 
It’s difficult to make the passive-aggressive behavior that Christine’s mother levels towards her seem sympathetic, but if anyone can do it, it’s Metcalf. As hard as it may be to stomach — when Christine shows her a dress that she likes, she can’t help but tell her she needs to lose weight if she really wants to wear it — it’s obvious that everything is coming from a place of care. She wants what’s best for her daughter; it’s just that their ideas of what’s best aren’t quite aligned.

The entire production — from Lois Smith as one of the nuns at Lady Bird’s Catholic school, or Stephen McKinley Henderson as the drama teacher — is full of a similar tenderness. The musical cues — including a completely un-ironic use of Dave Matthews’ “Crash Into Me” and Stephen Sondheim as the artist of choice for the students’ theater auditions — signal as much; despite how wrenching some of the scenes are, there’s not a truly cruel bone in Lady Bird’s body. The road to growth may be a painful one, but it’s ultimately worth being able to come out on the other side with a clearer vision of oneself, and of one’s home.

There are details scattered throughout that suggest something a little darker — again, the concern over the McPherson’s financial situation is ever-present (as well as the sort of thing that’s rarely addressed in contemporary cinema), as well as hints as to Christine’s father (Tracy Letts) and his struggle with depression — but aside from that, Lady Bird is very sweet.
It’s in this respect that the rest of the film falters. That danger is inherent in any story that’s been told before: if there’s nothing new brought to the telling, it’s not particularly compelling to watch. It doesn’t help that Metcalf’s performance is like a gorgeous atomic bomb; the film’s just not as interesting to watch when she’s off-screen. But Lady Bird benefits from Gerwig’s directorial touch, as she manages to keep old material compelling enough to last through to the parts of the film that truly shine.

To her credit, though, Ronan gives a great leading turn, making it clear just how Lady Bird is growing up as the things that had seemed so important to her through high school start becoming less and less important as she gets older. It helps that she doesn’t fit the usual “quirky” mold that most female indie film protagonists fall into; she’s a little bit of a rebel, with her dyed hair and new chosen name, but those are just outside signifiers. She’s you or me — she’s normal. Her need for more is likely one that everyone’s felt at some point in their life, and it’s particularly wrenching to watch as she tries to balance her wish to fly the coop with the inevitable consequence of leaving her mother behind. Home is ultimately where the heart is, no matter how prickly it may be.

/Film Rating: 8 out of 10

Steve 7216

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Re: Lady Bird
« Reply #556 on: October 17, 2017, 12:36:41 PM »
Not a bad review:

http://culturefly.co.uk/lady-bird-bfi-london-film-festival-review/
LADY BIRD – BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
SIMON COLUMB OCTOBER 16, 2017 BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL FEATURED FILM REVIEW

An angry teen, annoying parents, best friends who fall out and awkward romances that don’t pan out – we’ve all been there. Lady Bird, on the other hand, is special. Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, with full credit for the screenplay, plays a master card with a personal, intimate story of a 17-year-old’s eighteen months before University. Saoirse Ronan, carrying the film on her shoulders, is a triumph in the titular role and, with awards talk already, this will clearly go down as a game changer in teen dramedy. Seriously, this will be up there with John Hughes’ established canon of brat pack comedies. Laugh-out loud funny, poignant and immensely relevant, Lady Bird will be your new favourite film.

Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Ronan) argues with her Mum. She’s doted upon by her Dad and she’s brutal with her foster siblings. In an argument about college in the opening scene, Lady Bird ends the argument in the most shocking (and hilarious) fashion. Inevitably, the relationship with her Mum (Laurie Metcalf) is strained. Christine doesn’t clear up after herself; she criticises how her Mum speaks; she’s embarrassed about her family’s standing in the community. They aren’t rich and her attendance at a Nun-run Catholic school is earned on a scholarship – her peers do not live in the same neighbourhood as her. As her college days ebb ever closer, she has to choose where to go and money is an enormous factor. The costly New York universities are where she wants to go but Davis, a school barely thirty minutes away, is the preferred choice by her family. Still, there are boys she fancies and the slight problem about her grades to worry about. It is 2002 and she has to work out who she is, quick.

And quick is very much how Lady Bird runs. There’s no room for wastage. Every detail is placed carefully and when a scene has outstayed its welcome, we cut away to the next one. This provides ample opportunity for well-timed gags and a constant stream of events to flesh out the city she lives within. There’s so much that Gerwig expertly weaves into this coming-of-age tale. Music of the aughts isn’t entirely memorable but if ‘Cry Me A River’ and Dave Matthews Band is on, then we know where we’re at. Mobile phones are on the rise and Iraq is on TV, and rather than a nostalgic look at the period, it is more of a gentle touch of a confident filmmaker who knows exactly what she wants.

The Edge of Seventeen, last year, shared similar attributes to Lady Bird. But Lady Bird has the foresight to add themes to the mix that the lead character may fail to appreciate at such a young age. Viewers, on the other hand, are privy to the details. Gerwig, in a Q&A at the BFI London Film Festival, explained how the film she made isn’t necessarily the film Lady Bird thinks she is in. The big love isn’t the boy and, in fact, everything is filled with nuance and complexity. When watching Sixteen Candles, Molly Ringwald is clearly from the “wrong side of the tracks” – something rarely depicted in teen dramas – but this is still secondary to all the romance she has to contend with in her high school. The financial constraints in Lady Bird, in contrast, are more than mere context; it impacts on every facet of this struggling teen’s life.

This is magnificent filmmaking, with lovable characters and a lightning pace. A score by Jon Brion (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) plays with percussion and keeps a playful edge to the proceedings. Saoirse Ronan is equally sublime, in a role that will further cement her reputation as an actor who can only get better, choosing unique projects and injecting a quality that can only be a product of her perceptive ability to capture an attitude that’s equally fragile as it is empowering. On recollection, Lady Bird has so many scenes that are just emotionally devastating, each one relying on Ronan’s perfect encapsulation of Lady Bird’s emotional journey. Lady Bird is utterly delightful and tough as old boots. Audiences will cherish the first time they will watch the film and relish the opportunity to introduce others in the future.

★★★★★

Not bad indeed.  :)

trvscrosley

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Re: Lady Bird
« Reply #557 on: October 19, 2017, 02:13:32 PM »

Greta Gerwig was also nominated for Best Breakthrough Director as well as Screenplay

Steve 7216

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Re: Lady Bird
« Reply #558 on: October 19, 2017, 03:10:37 PM »

Greta Gerwig was also nominated for Best Breakthrough Director as well as Screenplay

Yes!  And now it begins....Has the film been nominated?

trvscrosley

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Re: Lady Bird
« Reply #559 on: October 19, 2017, 03:21:19 PM »
Yes!  And now it begins....Has the film been nominated?

It's the only category it missed out on. I'm not reading too much into it considering the jury for these awards is only composed of like 5 people for each category.

Steve 7216

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Re: Lady Bird
« Reply #560 on: October 19, 2017, 03:25:26 PM »
Thanks.  I just checked, and some of the choices seem a bit out there.  It's great she is recognized right off the bat though.