What do you remember growing up? Was your tenure in high school characterized by great, dramatic explosions and public betrayals, the kind you'll see in, for example, Riverdale ? Or was it marked by more subtle moments of latent anguish inside the tumult instead of a bleeding heart? The version of adolescent life shown in most of the work on high school trends toward saccharin, but that's not really what it feels like to be a 17-year-old. Being a high school student is getting bored and being adrift. Lady Bird is a film that works from that badumption.
The directorial debut of Greta Gerwig tells the story of the main character Lady Bird (née Christine McPherson) as she tries to leave the sad confines of Sacramento for somewhere she sees as real and worthwhile, a mythical School of Liberal Arts of the East Coast Small, it is the end point for a very specific type of pbadion for teenagers in California.
*** SPOILERS TO FOLLOW ***
She really does not know what the east coast is, of course, but she knows it's not Sacramento, which for her is flat, culturally dry, and also the place where his dominant mother does not sympathize with her. There are useless romances, intergenerational headbutting contests, and stormy friendships, as there is with any movie about a high school student. Lady Bird of Saoirse Ronan falls into a corny romance worthy of a montage as soon as she falls out of it, for reasons that, in less capable hands, would have looked like something trite. The relationship that defines the film is between Lady Bird and her mother Marion (played by Laurie Metcalf), and although they spend the whole movie with their knives outside, never doubt that they care deeply for each other. Every time you think that the film will drift towards an expected dead end, it will move away from the magnetic north of the cliché of the teen film. The result is hyperrealistic, even in its most obvious comic moments (which are many, since the sarcastic posture of this movie makes everything look funny).
But do not confuse its nuance for the lack of muscle; what makes him an emotional bully is his implacable honesty. I grew up in a different part of Sacramento, a few years later, and I'm not a young woman, but the film captured what I felt growing up with mysterious precision. I expected more than one comedy about the coming of age; I did not expect the most accurate encapsulation of life in high school in the mid-2000s.
Of course, setting up a movie in Sacramento is pretty strange, since it's completely unglamorous. The best thing about Sacramento, according to the old refrain, is that they are two hours away from everything. California is a halfpipe and Sacramento is the flat part in the middle, a city without distinctive features between better places. There is a lot that I like about the place, but those aspects (decent public schools, all trees, a large middle clbad thanks to state jobs, the abundance of good restaurants) did not excite me when I was a teenager and I did not. Do not excite Lady Bird. Why would they do it? That's bullshit for adults. Lady Bird simultaneously shows how something that is charming for one generation is, for another generation, something that can be escaped. The trick is the contrast. What is a rebaduring moment for Marion is, at the same time, an example of the rudeness of Sacramento with Lady Bird.
The people of Sacramento have an ironic sense of self-loathing for the city and Lady Bird hits the right balance. It is not exactly a love letter to the Central Valley, since the film begins with a famous quote by Joan Didion about how boring Sacramento is and operates under the premise that Sacramento is a place to escape. And yet people love the movie! Greta Gerwig can make fun of Sacramento because she gets it. For two weeks, people turned to me and said, "You know, that Lady Bird movie is set in Sacramento." I saw it in Sacramento in an exhausted Tower Theater (the same one that shows in Lady Bird ) and every time someone pronounced the word "Sacramento", my fellow movie fans flattered and talked, even if Lady Bird was talking shit Gerwig's film is a true representation of the boredom of Sacramento, which even the most enthusiastic promoter of Sacramento would have to recognize, and, like Lady Bird, developed a true (albeit complicated) admiration for the city. His movie is a love letter disguised as a moan.
I felt the same suffocation that Lady Bird felt, although fortunately, not in a Catholic school. The Immaculate Heart of Lady Bird is a substitute for the real life of San Francisco. The nuns of the school do not appear as the taciturn disciplines you see in any other Catholic school film, but as real people with feelings and desires. When Lady Bird jokes with a sister, she laughs and congratulates her on her humor. On the contrary, the real people we should really distrust are rich children.
The villains of many movies for teenagers are cruel and popular children, although Gerwig intelligently invests that trope by making them the only ones who do not seem to get bored and emitting that as an accusation against his character. It's an intelligent way to catch them, since it makes them look foolish. When, for example, mischievous rogue Kyle smokes cigarettes performatively and reads A popular history of the United States one has the feeling that he thinks that this is how life should be. The queen bee resident of Inmaculate Heart, Jenna, lives in the rich (and terrible) suburb of Granite Bay and when she becomes a short friend of Lady Bird, she can not even conceive of wanting to leave Sacramento.
As noted by Splinter, Lady Bird is a rare movie for teenagers about exhaustion and neglect to grow up poor, and although Lady Bird is very aware of her status at all times, the Jennas and Kyles of the world are too pampered to not want more or the position of not wanting to "participate in the economy" of the security of a three-story mansion Fab 40s. Feel the struggles of Lady Bird much more intensely because she wants something that the upper clbad of Sacramento takes for granted.
Lady Bird finally leaves Sacramento, and although all the parties involved want something close to reconciliation, it never comes. Your best friend, Julianne, will not go to college. His father can not find work. Marion never stops tightening the muscles of her heart long enough to express herself. It is not a happy ending, although it is honest. This is real life: the things you long for are never exactly what you expect and the place you come from will always be part of you. After pbading the movie colliding with Marion, it was touching to hear Lady Bird talk rhapsodically about the beauty of driving in Sacramento and feel the same comfort that her mother felt. Everyone has to mature, and it's always difficult, but Lady Bird's point is that it's never too late to have a happy childhood.