With releases such as “Spiderman: Homecoming,” “IT” and now capped off with “Lady Bird,” 2017 was a great year for coming-of-age films.
In particular, “Lady Bird” has been receiving copious amounts of awards buzz, ranging from supporting to lead role nominations while garnering screenplay and directorial plaudits as well. It even held a 100 percent fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes for a solid while, breaking a record not matched since 1999’s “Toy Story 2.”
The film follows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson’s senior year at a Catholic high school in Sacramento with all the ups and downs that entails. Lady Bird falls in love, fights with her mom and struggles her way into her dream university far away from home. The story isn’t particularly new or innovative, but it feels special all the same.
“Lady Bird” is effortlessly authentic and relatable, which is mostly owed to Greta Gerwig’s excellent script and direction. Gerwig captures the essence of being a teenager to a tee, perfectly sprinkling moments of levity and drama evenly throughout. Most will find something to relate to, whether it’s arguing with your parents, toggling friendships and interests or just looking for acceptance somewhere, anywhere.
The film is also paced remarkably well, reminding me of a brisk late afternoon stroll. Scenes never carry on for too long, plotlines come and go, but every moment counts. It’s a very pleasant experience all around.
As Lady Bird’s journey is rife with moments of immaturity and teenage decision-making, it would be easy for her to come across as unlikable. However, Saoirse Ronan plays Lady Bird with such genuine affect that this is never the case. Her many mistakes are easy to forgive, because you’re always with her, especially if you’ve been a teen in her shoes before.
There’s no doubt Ronan will be the buzz of the awards season soon enough.
Laurie Metcalf’s performance as Lady Bird’s mother is also equally great. Metcalf matches Ronan at every beat with simultaneous hits of stern motherly discipline and tenderness. There have been few performances this year that could even begin to approach the duo’s chemistry together.
I really have no gripes with “Lady Bird.” I’m not sure how much staying power the film will have in the far future, but it’s certainly one of the best coming-of-age films I’ve seen in recent memory. It’s a strong recommend, not only for those anticipating awards season, but anyone who’s been a teenager looking to reminisce.
Hector Valverede is a culture reporter with the Daily Lobo. He primarily writes movie reviews. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @hpvalverde.