After I saw Lady Bird for the first time, I left the theater so utterly in love with the movie. But I found I couldn’t fully articulate why because the reasons I loved it were so endless. And still are.
When I explained it to my boyfriend, brother, father, and male colleagues, I got pretty much the same response— it was good, not great. I think it’s fair to say this film resonates more with women than men. It was so viscerally real for me, because I experienced (or know others who experienced) so much of what Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson did. It felt tangible. So ladies, this post is for you. Read on. Gentlemen, you’re of course free to read on, too.
We all have Greta Gerwig to thank for this rare jewel, and had it been up to me, she and her cast would have won all the awards. Though it’s been labeled as a movie about a mother/daughter relationship, Lady Bird really is much more than that. This coming of age story about an angsty adolescent with dreams bigger than the limits of her hometown really has the ability to seep into you as you watch. It makes you realize you know this story somehow. And while it’s not exactly yours, it still feels as if it belongs to you. It nurtures you, breaks your heart, makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you mad, and instills yearning in you you either didn’t know or forgot you had.
The dynamic Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf developed and shared is explosive— both in a sense of awe and through their on screen feuds. Whether it was shopping for Lady Bird’s Thanksgiving dress at the thrift store, or when Marion scolds Lady Bird for not putting her clothes away properly before leaving for a school dance, it wasn’t hard to pinpoint at least one or more instances where my mom and I tiffed over the same things in the EXACT same way.
And let’s say you didn’t have that mother/daughter relationship at all. I bet you can remember how it felt to have your first kiss, or to have your heart broken for the first time. To cry with your best friend over it, and to spend time listening to sad love songs convincing yourself it was about you and whichever boy you fawned over. Maybe it wasn’t to Dave Matthews’ “Crash Into Me,” but hey, that was the time.
No, can’t relate? Okay, let’s see. What about the feeling of rejection you had when you received a small envelope from a college you desperately wanted to attend? Or the feeling of utter elation when you got a thick one securing your future? The homesickness when you first got to college? How about using the red “You Are Special” plate on your birthday? Or passing your drivers test, and driving in a car for the first time by yourself? Losing your virginity, writing boys names in journals (or on walls), fighting with your siblings, your first job, and the love you had for your hometown until you were ready to leave it for somewhere bigger and better?
These are things we don’t forget from our past, and I bet you could tell me where you were and what you did when you experienced these moments in your life. They are snapshots of you that you’ll tell your kids when they undoubtedly go through these things, too. It’s like watching back parts of your youth in an alternate reality with different key players filling the roles of the people who have come in and out of your life. And Lady Bird reminds us that they are moments we should call upon more often. They’re what made us who we are today.
For me, Lady Bird doesn’t just fly. It soars.