With the Oscars just a few weeks away, I’ve still got plenty of catching up to do, so tonight, I went and saw Lady Bird. It’s a charming coming-of-age story, with a strong sense of place and nuanced characterization that make it a surprisingly effective companion piece to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
With all due respect to John Hughes, it’s refreshing to see a film in this genre that doesn’t cast the adults as outright villains. The teenagers are trying to figure out what it means to be “grown-up”… but so are all the grownups, who must grapple with the harsh reality that there’s no magic moment where everything snaps into focus and the world suddenly makes sense; they lose their jobs for no good reason, struggle to pay the bills, and find themselves depressed even when their lives seem to be relatively stable. There’s a lot to love in Lady Bird—from Saoirse Ronan’s pitch-perfect leading performance to the authentically meandering dialogue—but it was this thematic complexity that really resonated with me. I don’t know if it quite has what it takes to bring home Best Picture, but its nomination is certainly well-deserved.
[Originally written February 10, 2018.]