Lady Bird

Gerwig has instilled the movie with a constant sense of financial anxiety, just as she did in Frances Ha and Mistress America, her collaborations with Noah Baumbach. But the real conflict in Lady Bird isn’t one of money, per sé. It’s the idea that dreams, and the future, are by definition beyond reach. And sometimes beyond our means. The pain, which is also the joy, of Lady Bird is that its characters confront this over and over. It’s built into the movie’s bones. Gerwig makes us fly through the movie, packing an entire TV season’s worth of material into under two hours, such that Lady Bird’s aspirations are frequently thrown into conflict with her circumstances. It’s energizing: the movie achieves liftoff and never looks back. Gerwig’s direction—her sense of movement, performance, detail, comic timing—is intimidatingly nimble. But nothing is more humbling than her boundless imaginative sympathy, and her ability to translate that feeling to the screen with such joy.

But will I ever forgive the movie for getting Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash Into Me” re-stuck in my head after so many years of denial over my love for that song, or for reminding me, in a very pointed way, of what it was like to feel like a failure and a dweeb in high school who just wanted to escape? Nope! 

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