“Six inches for the Holy Spirit”Review by Lily Taylor
Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial film is a coming of age masterpiece that every female can identify with. Saoirse Ronan stars as Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson as she prepares to graduate her (very) catholic high school and move away to college. For me the integral relationship in the film is between Lady Bird and her mother (Laurie Metcalf). The two characters are strong willed and outspoken and the way they clash perfectly represented the relationship many mothers and daughters experience.
Lady Bird finds her feet as an independent adult woman by the end of the film but meets several stumbling blocks along the way; romances, friendships and a desire to move as far away from home as possible. Although she succeeds in moving to New York to attend college, she begins repairing her turbulent relationship with her mother and decides to revert back to her given name, Christine, in her new city.
The quality of acting in this film is fantastic, it’s no surprise Saoirse Ronan won an Oscar for Best Actress and Laurie Metcalf was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Ronan’s breadth of emotion allows her to play the role of a mixed up teen and her character development is pivotal to the message behind the movie. There’s also a healthy mix of humour thrown in, like the scene in which Lady Bird rolls out of her mother’s moving car! The characters and the film itself are so multi-faceted and yet it doesn’t feel crowded or rushed, a credit to Gerwig’s direction.
Watching this film was such an immersive experience because the emotions and scenarios are so relatable in every day life; probably because Gerwig wrote it semi-autobiographically. Additionally, the cinematography was varied and unique; I particularly enjoyed the scenes with a birds eye view. There wasn’t really a need for fancy camera angles or novel lighting because the content of the film was enough to carry it through and I actually think it would have distracted from the story in some ways.
There were very few things that I disliked about ‘Lady Bird’ but I’ll mention a couple nonetheless. There were two characters who came across as so bland and utterly devoid of personality that they paled in comparison to the rest of the cast. Kyle (Timothée Charlamet) and Jenna (Odeya Rush) are supposed to be part of the popular crowd at school but Jenna’s facial expressions were that of a recently botoxed housewife and Kyle mumbled relentlessly as though he were suffering from lockjaw. The second point isn’t a criticism as such, just a question left unanswered. Lady Bird lives with her parents and her brother, Miguel (Jordan Rodrigues). It’s made very clear in the film that her parents are Caucasian and yet the actor who plays her brother is Malaysian? A couple of comments are made about Miguel’s nationality but an explanation is never really given, don’t leave me hanging like that man.