Phillip’s review published on Letterboxd:
It was my last day in New York, I had gone there to visit some friends, tell a girl how I felt about her, and meet Greta Gerwig. I accomplished one of those tasks on my relatively short trip to what I think is the greatest city in the world. That one task being that I visited friends, we went to museums and parks, gorging ourselves on food that was too expensive for its own good. I never did tell the girl how I really felt about her, although I did write all of my feelings on a notecard from my hotel, the notecard is in my back pocket as I write this. Unfortunately I never got the opportunity to meet Greta Gerwig, and god knows I tried, as I would do a double take at every woman that even slightly resembled her. But today, I like to think that maybe I did meet her, because I saw Lady Bird.
I was not sure what to expect, especially since I was attending my first ever film festival, I knew that it was a coming of age story, and the trailer had completely sold me on the film. I had read immense praise for Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan, who stars in the film as the lead, Lady Bird. But nothing really prepared me for the moments when the lights dimmed and the projector started whirring, I was excited and nervous at the same time.
In short, Lady Bird, both the movie and the character, are special, the film has the usual dry wit and extremely sharp dialogue that Gerwig is known for, but something that I really appreciate about Gerwig’s writing is her honesty, and in this film, we are treated to her directing the actors portraying this honesty, which elevates the film so much more. Apart from being hilarious, and honest, this film is incredibly emotional. Largely due in part to the performances of Ronan, and Laurie Metcalf, who plays Lady Bird’s mother, Marion.
The way that Gerwig depicts the relationship between Lady Bird and Marion is incredibly striking, one moment they are arguing in the middle of a discount store, and the next they are both talking about a very cute pink dress that Lady Bird is going to wear to Thanksgiving. Tracy Letts is also so good as Lady Bird’s father, and there are some moments with him that made my eyes well up with tears.
While watching this I found myself wondering, “How does she know? How did Greta know that I have dealt with this? Why is she making me cry?” I suppose that these topics, religion, college, and depression, are very prevalent in my life right now, but the way these topics and ideas come across on screen is so smooth and fully realized I couldn’t help but fully connect with these characters and watch as their lives played out on screen. I also can’t praise Saoirse Ronan enough, because her performance is absolutely astounding! To be honest I see many aspects of myself in the character of Lady Bird, she wants to go to New York, and as do I, she doesn’t tell her mother that she loves her often, which is something I need to start doing more (especially after seeing this film). Although I’m not much of an anarchist (which is the word Kyle, played by Timothée Chalamet, uses to describe Lady Bird) I like to think that I’m pretty “baller” even though I’m probably not. I also loved the part about her (Lady Bird) being the best version of herself, that really spoke to me as I want to be the best version of myself as well, actually I think we all do, but seeing some aspects of my personality and life up on screen for the third time in a Gerwig-written film made me weep with joy and a little bit of raw sadness.
Gerwig as a director is phenomenal, her vision of Sacramento feels warm, which adds to the impressiveness, and immersive quality, of this film. I’ve noticed in some of Gerwig’s other works, Frances Ha especially, she uses the word “magic” a lot. If I could use one word to describe this film it would be “magical” although I can think of probably a thousand more positive adjectives to describe this movie. It also is extremely colorful, with pink, red, and blue making major appearances which I just like because of the nice aesthetic that it adds. She is just so damn talented, and I love everything she does, looking forward to much, much more!
The final scene ended, and I sat there for a minute, processing it. I had just seen on of the strongest films about growing up, and to top it off, it was made by one of my favorite people. I wiped away some tears from my eyes, and along with everyone else in the theater, I started clapping.