Lady Bird

Lady Bird ★★★★★

Many people seem to categorically forget what's like being a teenager as soon as they hit 'adulthood', and are simply unable to look past their inherent obnoxiousness and self-obsession to actually see little messes of human beings awkwardly crawling out of their parents' likely imperfect nests into a world that actively has no place for them - or virtually everybody else for that matter, but this is a movie made by someone who clearly doesn't. Maybe it has something to do with the generation that she unwillingly kind of represents, which by both socioeconomic and psychological standpoints feel like the bastard heirs to a life that isn't theirs, but thinking on those terms can be widely unjust to an individual's unique qualities.

Like any other good storyteller, Gerwig exceeds, primarily, for being kindly empathetic and strikingly resourceful to structure and communicate such empathy with joviality, soulfulness and poignancy. The script's essential through-lines don't necessarily come in big dramatic moments underscored by grand music and intrusive close-ups. In real life, there's barely any distinction of what a moment is and when it exactly happens. Things you learn that will effectively shape who you are and how you interact with the world, can't usually be traced back to a specific point in time where you went somewhere or had a particular conversation. They happen in between everything else. To evoke that distinct non-importance of each disparate moment, the incidental weight that they accumulate and the paradoxical singular significance of it all is a feat limited to few, truly special pieces of art.

Beyond that, Greta and her spectacular cast, are able to convey how parents' frustrations, namely financial anxiety and notions of self-worth, decidedly inform and (could) define their children's, despite every possible effort to protect them from it. It's even more impressive that the film manages to do all of that while firmly staying within the confines of the coming-of-age mold set by projects that came before. There are still plenty of delightful high school archetypes, more overtly comedic episodes and positively clumsy romantic experiences all around, it's just a matter that they compose this universe so organically, it gets increasingly hard to perceive in the light of long-standing genre conventions they also happen to belong to.

Saoirse Ronan's performance is so good, she should feel personally offended by anyone that keeps pronouncing her name wrong after this. And that's not something one could say lightly.

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