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Lady Bird  : The Flutter Before Sprouting Wings
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Friday, March 2, 2018
Greta Gerwig
Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges

Sacramento. It’s that kind of small, bland town that can make any high school kid yearn for excitement. All Lady Bird wants is to live life, can’t wait have a life beyond Sacramento. At home is a caring mother but strong-willed, outspoken and ready to remind Lady Bird that they’re short on money. Out of work dad is the easier parent to communicate with. At the religiously-inclined school, it feels like a strait jacket from which she must break free.


Teen angst and defiance shows up in different ways. Lady Bird, as she explains everywhere, is a self-given name. And that’s how she’d like to be known. In one of her regular arguments with her mom, she simply opens the car door and falls out. Ouch.


She evens fancies somebody else’s house, seems like the right address to live in. Not on the wrong side of the tracks, as she calls her own home. And mom can’t even get the eggs right at breakfast.


Friendships and relationships also go through excitement and disappointment in equal measure.


In high school, losing her virginity seems like a high. But who’s the right guy?


Mom says we can’t afford fancy universities. But Lady Bird wants to fly.


And she does, only to slowly realise that her heart’s stuck at home. Mom isn’t a monster, the familiarity of home and Sacramento isn’t something to be ashamed of.  


There’ve been umpteen coming of age stories but writer-director Greta Gerwig’s semi-autobiographical ode to her own small town has a warmth and a wit that takes it away from the routine.


Although the situations and equations are totally American, a certain percentage of people who live in urban India would identify with Lady Bird and her motherMarion.


What makes it special is Soairse Ronan who’s pretty, who’s cheesed off most of the time and who goes through the gamut before growing up.  But it’s really a toss-up between Soairse and Laurie Metcalf who plays Marion with the worried frown without letting the mood get morose or totally down.


For a film that humorously handles adolescent angst without losing the emotions or substance, Lady Bird gets a 3* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author
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