Lady Bird: Everything and Nothing

After an appreciably long time, we have a Lady Bird.

Lady Bird is a movie about nothing.

Then again, Lady Bird is a movie about everything.

I walked into the theater with unreasonably high expectations, obviously. Rotten Tomatoes don’t just hand out 100% to everyone. I left with those expectations almost met; Which still makes for a pretty damn good movie! At first glance, and as it happens, last glance; the movie is simply effortless in telling its story. Telling her story. I don’t know any of these actors. I’ve never lived in Sacramento, let alone the state of California, and yet I was strangely drawn to this place, these people.

On the face of it, Lady Bird Chronicles one clean plot: Christine graduates high school, and goes to college. But as the plot soundlessly cruises on, you find yourself exposed to honest, touching and compelling conversations about some incredibly touchy topics. Here’s a small list:

  1. Homosexuality
  2. Abortion
  3. Body shaming
  4. Clinical depression
  5. Poverty and maybe elitism
  6. Atheism and more

These are topics I like movies to stay away from. Usually, addressing these very relevant and very serious issues always comes off as preachy or heavy handed, at least in my opinion. Lady Bird, however, makes talking about these topics seem as natural as breathing. It splices serious depth into conversation with ease while all you can do is let it all wash over you.

Seriousness aside, this movie is HILARIOUS. It has a strange comfort in the way it portrays the comedy and drama surrounding a group of affable and unassuming characters. And the magic of it, is that the movie is so purely conversational! Like I said earlier, there’s very little that “happens” in this movie. I can’t spoil it for you if I tried. This is a kind of throwback to Richard Linklater, but turn down the pretentious poppycock by a thousand fold and you still won’t be near how honest this movie is. Real teenagers dealing with real issues in the most real ways.

Alright let’s get to the chewy center here: the relationship between Christine and her mother. First off, spectacular performances by both women. The angsty daughter – stern mother trope has been around for centuries: Lady Bird subverted everything that Freaky Friday might have put in your head. The conversations are so natural and thoughtful with both characters repeatedly quarreling and compromising and being so consistently egotistical and empathetic at the same time. It is just SO REAL. I’d love to go on for a paragraph or two about the father, an excellently written character; one of the best I’ve seen in a while; But I’d like you to discover that on your own.

Lady Bird finishes in no time. You exit the theater light and airy, ready to take on the world. Maybe half an hour later, if like me, you decide to sit and write about it, you find yourself completely baffled by how much there is to say about it and how much it has said to you. Given the social and political tornado we currently live in, I would go as far as calling it one of the most important movies of the year; A clear lens through which you can see things around you and not wince in pain or blind yourself.

I give the movie 3 Lady Birds in hand plus 1.5 in the bush out of a possible 5