Lady Bird ★★★★★

98

Gibberish before an eventual re-watch (I am a MESS):

- An actor-turned-director solo debut which sings with the blossoming prowess of distilling strength into applicable new directions. Greta Gerwig takes her manic, impossibly radical energy as a performer and shapes it gently, sweetly, humanely.

- The result is a 'first feature' seemingly made by a master filmmaker at the height of her career. Lady Bird, as an endeavor, is fucking intimidating.

- But watching it, Gerwig's film is just...memory at its most slippery. A cohesive, economical tidal-wave of moments, feelings, montages giving way to weeks and months of unspoken words adding up to mountains of buried regret. Its uproarious comedy runs right along a particular line of financial instability and struggling familial relations, crossing over via character interaction and not because of Gerwig's intent of comedy. Nothing is left to chance, and so the film becomes its own perfectly choreographed musical of heartbreak and warmth, hatred and love, missed calls and second chances.

- A lot of this is through performance. Saoirse Ronan. Laurie Metcalf. Lucas Hedges. Tracy Letts. The casting is understated and overstated in all the right ways, radically physical in their individual scenes of deliberate, laser-pointed scripting, and utterly sublime. Never has a mother/daughter relationship been so fiercely defined on film - that sharp edge between 'truce' and 'war' is expertly handled.

- But just as much of Lady Bird's fluttering, swooning lightness is contributed by Gerwig's undeniable skill of following the specific and imbuing it with the realm of the personal. Set over Senior Year of high school, Lady Bird tracks time like a set-list of postcard images; freshly printed, ink practically running down the page. The emotions are still large, the pre-college life is still drawing its breath, and Gerwig moves scenes together like a restless, rabid conductor. They come and they go, they come and they go, and before you know it....it's all gone.

- That adoration for time's precious ticking-clock, and for the relationships found and lost within it, makes for a new classic - a film about the textures and sensations of picking up that phone and calling your mom, pressing each number as your head gets heavier and heavier and the world begins to swirl as you try to say what you've been thinking for years. And when you say it: the serenity of it, the Catholicism of it, the atonement lying in the embrace of your future.

- This year is about one person and one person only: Greta Gerwig.

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