Lady Bird

Lady Bird ★★★★

- Is that your given name?
- Yes, it's given to me, by me.

At a point roughly midway through Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird, the eponymous Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson is pulled into the principal’s office to discuss her college essay, “It’s clear you love Sacramento,” the principal remarks.

“Yeah, well, I guess I pay attention.” Lady Bird responds, attempting to slough off the compliment. This moment comes after Lady Bird has spent an entire car ride railing against Sacramento, which – in Lady Bird’s estimation – is a cultural wasteland in comparison to east coast cities like New York.

“Don’t you think that’s the same thing?” the principal responds. Lady Bird is saturated with moments that recall the waning hours of high school years. It is a film full of nostalgia for a time of possibility and anxious excitement. But it’s also a film that reflects on the lost moments of this chaotic time. Throughout the film, Lady Bird is a character that so desperately attempts to wrest her own identity and fate from the predestined path that others seem to impose upon her (when asked if Lady Bird is her given name, she remarks, “Yes, it’s given to me, by me.”) that she never lets herself understand the perspectives of those around her.

Full review coming to talkfilmsociety.com later this week.

But, Lady Bird is sublime. It's first two acts are a bit meandering, retreading territory explored in every young adult fiction since time in memorial, but the final act so acutely captures the nostalgia, regret, and wrestling with identities that accompany the transition to college life that I couldn't help but fall in love with the film.

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