Lady Bird ★★★★½

"Love and attention."

So genuine in each and every moment. Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird is exactly that -- her movie. Every quirk and all the energy of her previous performances and co-written scripts come to full form here, and it's magnificent. Saoirse Ronan gives one of the best performances of the year, and her supporting cast is equally brilliant. In the ideal world, nearly all of these actors would be able to snag nominations for Best Supporting (particularly Laurie Metcalf and Lucas Hedges), but I'll be focusing my energy on Ronan and Gerwig. Those two deserve the world.

What's so clever about this movie is that the narrative is largely predictable, but the moment to moment spontaneity makes everything feel so lively. Gerwig's sense of humor is impeccable. I laughed so many times during this movie, and even when there weren't any specific jokes, I still smiled at the charming tone achieved through the excellent direction. It's pretty clear where Lady Bird herself is going to end up in her life, but she doesn't know that, and that makes this a very compelling watch. She's young, passionate, angry, and far from perfect. We may not always like her, but we do love her.

Her romantic life is important, certainly, but only to the extent that it teaches her things about herself. Her friendships are far more significant, and most monumental is her relationship with her mother. Lady Bird's family model is unconventional, having an adopted brother and his girlfriend living with them, but the scenes with her and her mother feel so familiar. They are these two strong, uncompromising personalities that both crave and reject validation from the other. Some could argue that this relationship feels almost too familiar, unoriginal, but the context in which Gerwig presents it is more than enough to justify it.

Lady Bird is, in a sense, an amalgamation of tropes and teenage insecurities put under an incredibly intimate, personal lens. When something happens to Lady Bird, it feels like it's the first time it's ever happened. Every heartbreak is a pain we've never felt before, because that's how she feels. Perspective is everything in filmmaking, and Gerwig does an exceptional job of keeping us in her protagonist's place, with perhaps a bit more awareness of the world. The gorgeous cinematography and presentation of the Sacramento setting just further insulates us in this delicate body. Often hilarious and always touching, Lady Bird is a delight.

Rating: 90/100

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