(Check out the list so far)
The Movie: Lady Bird (2017)
One Sentence Plot Summary: Lady Bird experiences her senior year of high school, the highs and lows of love as well as a combative relationship with her mother.
Why It’s on the List:
This was my favorite movie of 2017. Part of this has to do with the fact that I was a senior at a catholic school in the 2002-2003 school year. I think this movie works for a lot of reasons. Coming of age stories should be 95 minutes exactly always, and this managed to be episodic and meaningful. There were moments of great levity throughout but also some serious issues. What always sticks with me are the small moments such as when Lady Bird discovers her first boyfriend Danny is gay by accident after going into the men’s bathroom or when Mr. McPherson fixes his son’s tie before a job interview.
There is a trope in movies and television shows where one of the children can be a fail son or fail daughter. Lady Bird is a bit of a pain at times, but she shows flashes of generosity with her father and Danny. Greta Gerwig shows a tremendous amount in her first directorial effort. While she has acted and written screenplays before, it was great to see her take on a movie like this. Lady Bird captures the awkwardness of the teenage experience and goes to so much more. One of the main priests and Mr. McPherson are clearly dealing with depression. Lady Bird believes living in Sacramento will be soul crushing.
Ultimately, this feels like the first of many collaborations we’re going to get between Greta Gerwig and lead actor Saoirse Ronan. They have already done this coming of stage story and a more adult period piece. It will be interesting to see if they get into different genres and territories as they are both going to be huge stars separately. I find this movie to be endlessly rewatchable and delightful even amidst some of the more depressing scenes.
Final note: There is no more perfect moment in cinema history than Timothee Chalamet reading A People’s History of the United States when Lady Bird sees him in the coffee shop.
*Nothing that I could tell.
MVP: Greta Gerwig is a revelation as both a writer and director. I truly hope this is the perfect time for a female director to be regarded as one of the best filmmakers of this generation. Her follow-up movie, Little Women¸ may have even been better from a directing standpoint and a fascinating adaptation from a writing standpoint. This is a small story with potential stars throughout the cast. It’s great to see Gerwig get to direct such a fun indie film that still gets to say so much about the experience of coming of age. I have a feeling if I make a list similar to this one in ten years, Gerwig will have a couple other contenders.
Best Performance: I could literally go with any of the top four cast members, but I’ve always been partial to Laurie Metcalf and thought it was a shame she didn’t get all the awards recognition. I like Allison Janney a lot, but Metcalf gets asked to do a lot here. What makes this movie work is how she can be tough on her daughter and yet balance that by still being such a genuinely good hearted person to almost everyone else. I really like the small moments when she’s having an exchange at work with a doctor or when Shelly talks about how Mrs. McPherson helped her out. This movie is very generous with all of its characters, and it was especially important to have Martha McPherson come across well.
Best Quote: “Because it’s not important to be right. It’s only important to be true.” – Father Leviatch
Is there a sequel? No.