|Greta Gerwig at the NYFF press conference|
The film follows Christine (who prefers to be called Lady Bird), a young woman in the last year of high school. We watch as she hangs out with friends, go to school, tries to get more popular friends, tries to get into a New York college all the while dealing with her parents who are going through a money troubles which may require Lady Bird to stay closer to home.
Very funny at times, the dialog is filled with great one liners, the film is often a winning slice of teenage life. Despite being several decades past the age of Lady Bird I could relate to what was happening in her life. Gerwig manages to get it so spot on that the appeal of the story is largely universal.
The trouble, for me at least, is in Laurie Metcalf's role as the mother. While many people could relate to her forever being aware of the cost of everything and her hyper critical analyzing of her daughter, I could not. It wasn't that I couldn't buy it, rather other than one sequence late in the game when mother and daughter look for a new home they will never buy, there is no other side to her that involves her daughter. I would have loved one scene where she didn't dig into her daughter or didn't looked pained about her existence. Yes we see her kind to others but there is almost none for her daughter, but I know from my own experience that even when I went through rough patches with the parentals, there were moments where we didn't rip each other to shreds and were human.
Its a minor thing but it stuck in my craw and kept me from loving the film.
That said the last 20 minutes of the film are quite moving with a voice over bit about missing a place that is one of the truly great movie moments of the year.
Ultimately LADY BIRD is worth your time and money. Whether you like or love the film will depend upon how you relate to the characters.