Lady Bird is a coming-of-age film with the angst of mother and daughter extremely well done. The daughter is the underachieving ‘Lady Bird’, who’s renamed herself. She’s stuck in a Catholic school in Sacramento, California. She’s dissatisfied. The school is punished with a series of practical jokes, stunning defiance, including destroying a mark book, and feeble efforts at fitting in to the school ethos. The nuns and priests are implausibly pleasant and understanding. This is a sharp change in emphasis from films like Spotlight.
Although poor she gets a high status boy friend, who disappoints. He’s followed by one of even higher status who also disappoints. Alienating her school is set against the drama of her home. Her mother is well a mother. She’s making sacrifices, working double shifts, which isn’t enough. Lady Bird wants better. Her attitude reeks of adolescent entitlement. The alienation of mother and daughter continues apace until she finally leaves home for the desired east coast college- paid for by re-mortgaging the family home.
The vigorous angst of mother-daughter relationships is very well done as are glorious pieces of defiance in school. They tiptoe to the edge of breakdown but don’t get there and there is a final piece of redemptive understanding. All very American. This demonstrates that the possibility of a Loveless clone being made in Hollywood is impossible.
Why you should watch this film: Anyone who’s had an adolescent daughter will empathise
Why you shouldn’t watch this film: It’s a bit glib about the Catholics and the likelihood of a happy ending.
For an alternative review http://variety.com/2017/film/reviews/lady-bird-review-greta-gerwig-1202546609/