𝚝𝚊𝚢𝚕𝚘𝚛’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sister Sarah Joan: You clearly love Sacramento.
Christine: I do?
Sister Sarah Joan: You write about Sacramento so affectionately and with such care.
Christine: I was just describing it.
Sister Sarah Joan: Well it comes across as love.
Christine: Sure, I guess I pay attention.
Sister Sarah Joan: Don't you think maybe they are the same thing? Love and attention?
im typing this as i realize that ive got less than a week till leaving home for uni for the first time. moving away and hopefully find a sense of familiarity in a city that im completely unfamiliar with. needless to say, im scared! as! shit! about moving so far away from my family, dealing with things that i usually won’t know a thing about because im with my mom and supposedly making friends in a much, much bigger city than my hometown that i just started to get comfortable with. so, guess i couldn’t have picked a better time to rewatch lady bird. (this review is very uhhh... self-indulgent, since it’s not really a review rather than a way for me to express and share my own experience and explain why i resonate with lady bird)
what’s it like being seventeen? i recently turned 18 on august 8th. less than three weeks ago. maybe it is because of that, rewatching lady bird strikes me hard. i see a lot of things that reminded me of myself in christine, but at the same time, i don't. terrible at math? double fucking check. dying my hair? dark blue on the bottom half of my hair in junior high. applying for universities and writing essays? reasons why i stayed up till 3 am every single night. BUT. there’s always a but. i wasn’t a teen in early 2000. i wasn’t raised catholic. i wasn’t even raised religiously. i didn’t grew up under the culture of suburban area in Sacramento. hell, im not even American. but why do i find lady bird endearing? what i can’t deny is the importance of validation. i see the resemblance of the characters in lady bird in lots of people I’ve grown up to know my whole life. my friends/classmates that ive known since kindergarten, my mom, my grandma, my friends’ mom, my sister, my teachers. the list goes on. lady bird has successfully made me laugh and completely break me down at so many parts. especially the one that shows Christine’s mom’s letter. i still keep the ones from my mom in my drawer. i see the same interaction between christine and her mom at the thrift store and thinking to myself “that’s us!” the ability to rebound right back from arguments and crack jokes with each other. I’m going to miss that.
i hated. i repeat. hated. my senior year of high school. being in school became a burden, or should i say it always has been? the last year of high school usually means being bombarded with one exam after another, group projects, presentations... you get the gist. in the meantime time, i have to do lots of personal training for a national competition. i was sick tired of the “college-orientated” lifestyle that im forced to comply to. ive cried multiple times under the stress of not being able to reach my own expectations. i worked hard for what i want, that i can say with confidence. after the college entrance exam, i started working on my essays, which is another thing that bothered me a lot at that time. however, lady bird brought back and reformed my thoughts on writing them. the thing is, i didn’t hate writing them, i wasn’t ashamed of where i came from, i wasn’t ashamed of proving myself. what i hate was the notion of selling myself. but when Sister Sarah Joan described Christine’s essays to help her realize the depth of love she has for Sacramento, i felt like that’s what i did with mine.
long story short, i got in my top choice. am i proud of what i achieved? well, i would say the proportion of the waiting-for-the-results part is tormenting and definitely much bigger than pride. but yes. every thing I’ve worked for was building up for having the chance to get to choose which school i wanted to go and where i wanted to be. one problem, im always unsure.
christine, in a way, is everything i am, i want to be, and slowly becoming. she is certain of what she wants. she’s a real practitioner. perhaps not she is not using the fastest route and keeps bumping into barriers here and there, but she’s getting there. on the other hand, i am unsatisfied about my current situation but too afraid to make any change to improve it, for I’m terrified of the unknown and failure. so, I’m grateful for lady bird, just like greta said in her commentary, she’s realizing lady bird. slowly put it together and care for it as if it is her newborn. i am as well, practicing to be a realizer. but this time with my own life.
lady bird’s universality is one of the big factors why it’s important to have decent and honest films about confronting growing up. it came in the right time for most people (like me) who are caught up in a wave where insecurity and constant self-doubting plague and dominate over the body and soul. the desire of being recognized and validated was provoked in lady bird. it has combined so many people’s past/present/future together. nonetheless, not everyone’s teen-year is the exact same. it’s not a common pattern for everyone to go through. it’s supposed to be a conundrum that each of us have to figure out on our own. what lady bird did is precisely captured the spirit of “realizing”. that’s why i resonate.
Greta’s works have always felt personal. intimate even. it’s terrifying because it almost feels like she cut me open and throw parts of me under the microscope to carefully examine then put it on the big screen. i felt naked and seen. but isn’t that the most tempting thing about co-existing with one another? to be understood?
by the end of next Friday, i will have to be ready. for packing, for moving, for leaving. am i ready yet? not a single clue, but i guess i will figure it out along the way when i get there.
p.s. im sorry that this review is way too long and getting too personal/sentimental (for my own good) and pleonastic. everything that i have experienced and wanted to put out there was beautifully said by many others. and i sincerely hope that somehow we can all be certain with ourselves one day. like lady bird, but in our own distinctive way.
fly away home.