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‘Lady Bird’: a relatable look at a mother-daughter bond

Brian Lang

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Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird (2017)

Brian Lang

For teenagers, getting along with their parents is a constant struggle. The same is true for Christine McPherson, who goes by the nickname Lady Bird. She is a senior at a Catholic high school outside of Sacramento, California.

Greta Gerwig’s charming comedy “Lady Bird” examines the turbulent life of a discontented, independent teenager and her struggle to find herself. Led by the marvelous Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird” runs the full gamut between hilarious comedy and authentic sadness, telling the story of the relationship between a mother and her daughter.

For Christine, nothing is good enough. She is tired of California, tired of being poor and tired of Catholic school. Her dream is to go to college on the east coast, far away from the bland life that she knows. However, her mom has different plans. Every time Christine wants to fly away, her mom drags her back down to Earth with her quick, sharp jabs, destroying her confidence. The deep love of this mother and daughter is so obvious to the audience, yet the characters remain unaware of its intensity. Christine’s unorthodox take on life and unbounded hopes for her future are relatable and watching her “try on” different personalities is fascinating.

The crown jewel of “Lady Bird” is its brilliant acting. The chemistry between Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan is palpable as they throw deeply hurtful words at each other, but the beautiful part of their relationship is their ability to make up instantly over the little things, like finding the perfect dress or pretending to tour homes for sale. Their arguments are huge and overblown, but it is in their moments of peace that you realize the magnitude of their similarity. Metcalf and Ronan are acting powerhouses, conveying raw emotions with amazing humor and grace.

Ronan’s portrayal of Christine is immediately likable despite her character’s many flaws.

The storyline of “Lady Bird” is unique, told through vignettes showing the true and unpolished lives of its characters. Partially autobiographical, the film feels like a snapshot of the life of our heroine with no true beginning or end. Instead what we get is a true account of the awkward, exciting and sometimes heartbreaking life of a fiercely independent high schooler looking to find her place in the world.

The script accepts the realities of the ups and downs of life and reflects them honestly. Gerwig’s characters are written with such depth and realism that the audience feels a deep connection and compassion for them all.

The struggles of mother-daughter relationships are very relatable for college students. Many students understand how rough their relationships with their parents can be, but like Christine, they also understand how deeply their parents love them. Sometimes it isn’t until you leave your home, friends, and family that you truly appreciate the sacrifices they have made for you. “Lady Bird” is a bittersweet look into the relationship between a young adult and her parents that all college students should see.

Rating: 10/10

Still in local theaters

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‘Lady Bird’: a relatable look at a mother-daughter bond