By Alex Kerravala, Staff Writer
Lady Bird, directed by Greta Gerwig, is about as “indie movie” as it gets. Between the no-name actors and actresses, the very faded lighting, and somewhat pretentious dialogue, it’s a wonder to see it at the Oscars if you take it at face value. Thankfully what this story lacks in overall quality and budget, it makes up for with an absolutely perfect interpretation of high school, and a story that nearly shattered my, cold, dead, heart.
The film follows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson throughout her senior year of her local Catholic School in Sacramento, California. Despite her family not having anywhere near enough money to put her there, the local public school is nowhere near safe enough to meet her parents’ standards. Naturally, as any other highschool senior would, Lady Bird resents it, as it feels disingenuous, fake, or maybe even “phony.”
Lady Bird spends the entire movie trying to be something she isn’t, trying to fit in with people she doesn’t belong with, all the while standoffish to anything holding her back.
The films version of high school is the most real version of a film high school I have ever seen. I remember acting out for social approval, only to be punished by school and parents alike. I remember being forced to be around an ex immediately after a tender breakup. I remember making choices I now regret in the name of friendship or love, for people who mean next to nothing to me today. I remember leaving the genuine relationships I’d had since elementary, trying to climb the social ladder. The film doesn’t just focus on the negatives of high school, though. Seeing Lady Bird in her genuine relationships, at a diner after a musical, ditching class and just chilling with a friend, holding a true friend while they cry about something nobody else could know on your shoulder.
The picture Lady Bird paints of her relationships, both real and fake, culminates perfectly come prom time. After ditching her real friends to get to know the more popular kids, avoiding things she truly likes for the sake of fake friendships, she ends up leaving these fake friends and going to prom with her long time best friend and having the time of her life. The whole movie centers around what is genuine and what is “phony” but rather than in a pretentious way, like I expected from an indie film, it told a much more heartfelt story of real friendship.
The accuracy of high school in this film was nothing short of amazing, but where this movie truly shines is with its depiction of family, and what a home truly is.
Children are terrible, and Lady Bird is no exception. Constantly at odds with her hardworking, albeit struggling mother, Lady Bird resents her mother for simply wanting what’s best for her. Its impossible for a kid to know just how much a mother or father gives, and more often than not, it comes across as a parent holding them back. Everyone who was once a teenager remembers hating their parents, disagreeing with them at every opportunity, and then as soon as they reach adulthood, they realise just how loving their parents have been. Lady Bird does not miss the mark here, and the sheer amount of guilt this movie makes you feel is overwhelming in all the right ways.
Lady Bird is very indie, which can be seen from the start. It most certainly was not my type of movie, and still moved me beyond description. The portrayal of relationships, of love, and of home is nothing short of genius, and I highly encourage everyone to find time to see this movie.