Director: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Timothée Chalamet
This movie is a sort of a memoir, which means as a genre, it should either inspire you with a story of the greatness of man (a biopic, as it were), or move you for how similar your own life is (or, has been) to the one on screen. As luck would have it, Lady Bird belongs to the second category. These two categories work roughly the same way with literature too, although movies, I reckon, manage to delight us with the mundane far better. So does this film, like similar good ones from the genre — in the context of America, Richard Linklater's Boyhood (2014) being the greatest of 'em all. Effects of technology apart (and I'm glad this script is set in pre-smartphone, 2002), teenage as a rite of passage seems reassuringly similar, regardless of where you are, I guess — the general angst, insecurities, an insurmountable need to fit in, to the point of being embarrassed of your own parents. You know what I mean.
Those of my vintage might recall being hooked to the TV series Wonder Years back in the day, which was placed in Long Island (although they never mentioned that on the show). And yet, every evening, in Delhi, half a planet away, as li'l kids, we could all empathise with every minute of Kevin Arnold growing up — as if he was our next-door neighbour. The rebellious teenager (Saoirse Ronan) in the film, who chooses to call herself 'Lady Bird', lives in the sleepy town Sacramento, or what she describes as the "Mid-west of California; soul killing" — the opposite of the great American middle-class dream, and presumably no different from Sholapur, or any other small Indian town, with its own set of the supposedly suffocating young, pining for a world beyond.
But that's just one way of looking at teenaged aspirations. Or this movie. Through stellar, experiential writing (by the actor-director Greta Girwig), and such lived-in performances (by Ronan, and Laurie Metcalf, who plays the mother), what the film really does, despite a lotta clichés, is help you effectively mine precious moments of your own graduation, into adulthood, leaping into the 'real world' — first crush/kiss/sex... I know it's hard to recreate life that still retains its innocence; and frustration thereby. It's great to relive it sometimes — even if on screen. Glad I did. And if you're 18, Lady Bird, like a few other films, should be part of your syllabus.
Watch Lady Bird Trailer