There is a substantive, grounded sensitivity that saves “Lady Bird” from becoming another formulaic “coming of age” film; Greta Gerwig, more than her acting acuity, is an outstanding writer/director; at the age of thirty-four she’s advanced beyond the Mumblecore genre (hand-held camera technique, low budget, an ad-lib dialogue infused with a plethora of nerve-wracking “like’s”, hemorrhaging from millennials vernacular, into the English-speaking population at large).”Lady Bird” is Gerwig’s excavation and realization of her love/hate relationship with her mother, during her senior year in high school, Sacramento, Ca.
Christine, “Lady Bird” McPherson, played with spectacular enchantment by Saoirse Ronan, yearns for an erudite, cultural milieu offered by Eastern schools, at the same time she’s not delusional about her academic status; her mother, “Marion” Laurie Metcalf’s empathetic performance is fraught with the heightened frustrations of a woman who desperately loves, but is incapable of understanding or relating to Lady Bird; Tracy Letts, Lady Bird’s father, “Larry” is compelling, as a warm and neutral referee, negotiating the warring parties.
Watching the intricacies of Lady Bird’s maturing processes: her choice of boyfriends; vacillation between her best friend “Julie” (loveable, charming Beanie Feldstein) and snooty, sophisticated, wealthy “Jenna” (sensual Odeya Rush), her longing to escape from the “wrong side of the tracks” are realistic and normal, as are her yearnings, inquisitiveness, mischievousness, we recognize her, we’ve even been her.
“Lady Bird” is genuine; the protagonists are good, well-rounded, likeable, at times formidable; in the end, a mother/daughter dynamic that today, has to be burgeoning with pride.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!