Friday, June 21, 2024

“Lady Bird” – Will Make You Think Hard about What You Say


Lady Bird movie

Christine McPherson, a senior at a Catholic school, knows a lot about guilt, which doesn’t only stem from her religious education. Constantly locking horns with her mother, Christine, who insists on identifying herself as Lady Bird, can’t wait to graduate from high school so she can finally get out of the “Midwest of California,” otherwise known as Sacramento.

The coming-of-age Lady Bird, set in 2002-2003, features Irish actress Saoirse Ronan in the title role. As I followed Lady Bird on her senior year journey, the movie not only summoned memories of my own senior year of high school, it also made me reevaluate my role as a parent. Saoirse (which rhymes with in-er-tia, according to her opening monologue on last week’s Saturday Night Live) Ronan beautifully portrays Lady Bird. As she struggles to find her true self, Lady Bird’s relationships with others have a profound impact on her, shaping the young woman she becomes.

Lady Bird movie

Lady Bird goes through many of the same trials and tribulations that are familiar to many high school students, including the heartache that almost always follows one’s first true love. She learns that not everything she believes about others is necessarily true, that trust can be shattered in a heartbeat, and that intimacy doesn’t guarantee happiness.

At the same time, Lady Bird learns an awful lot about friendship. While it’s enticing to let new people into your life, does that mean that there’s no longer room for those who’ve been there for you through thick and thin? The silliness and carefree nature that characterizes her friendship with her BFF Julie made me reminisce about my own childhood days with my high school best friends, Leah, Reena, and Stephanie, who remain some of my very best friends today. As Lady Bird and Julie’s friendship is put to the test, I couldn’t help but think that this story is, in part, a beautiful tribute to the friends who help shape you when you’re still trying to figure out just who you are.

Lady Bird movie

Lady Bird has a complicated relationship with her mother Marion, played by Laurie Metcalf. Exhausted from juggling her job and trying to make financial ends meet, Marion has a short fuse when it comes to Christine, and seems to constantly criticize her every move. I cringed throughout the majority of their interactions, where nothing Lady Bird says or does seems to satisfy her mother.

My friend Melissa attended the movie with me, and as a mother of teens, the interaction between the mother-daughter duo left her feeling very emotional. “I related because I totally get it. You’re so frustrated with them all the time; they do stupid things and make foolish decisions. You feel like you’re hitting below the belt sometimes, hoping that something you say will rattle them into making better choices. Watching the movie felt like it hurt though because I kept thinking, ‘I don’t want to be her. I don’t want my kids to think about me in the same manner that Lady Bird views her mother.’ We only have our kids with us for a short while before they’re off on their own, and I don’t want to have regrets like Marion.”

Even though my daughter is only ten years old, still at that adorable age where she wants nothing but to please me, I too felt like the movie was a powerful reminder to be careful what you say as a parent. I want my daughter to grow into a young woman who, like Lady Bird, seeks adventure, but I don’t want the reason she spreads her wings to be because she is trying to escape me. (In the grand scheme of things, is it really all that important that her room is picture perfect? No, of course, not!)

While the film is only a brief hour and thirty-four minutes long, it’s definitely one that makes you nostalgic as well as one that makes you reevaluate yourself. Greta Gerwig, who wrote and directed the film, touched on a nerve, reminding viewers that no matter whether you’re in high school or are technically a grownup, you’re never done trying to become your best self. We are all works in progress. Some people we encounter enhance us; some don’t. It’s our job to figure out who brings out the best in us, and love them fiercely for it. We also have to determine which people no longer belong on our life’s journey with us, graciously allowing them to exit our path together so we may make room for those who are going to celebrate with us as we try to fly. We may never actually soar, but those who truly care won’t ever hold it against us, will they?

As we left the theater, Melissa, still drying her eyes, declared, “I want to go home and make my kids cuddle with me.” Amen.

Lady Bird movie

Movie times: click here

Genre:  Comedy, Drama

Director:  Greta Gerwig

Actors:  Saoirse RonanTimothée ChalametOdeya Rush

Running Time: 1 hour 34 minutes

Rating:  Rated R for language, sexual content, brief graphic nudity and teen partying

Coree Cornelius
Coree Cornelius
Resident, Educator, Military Spouse, and Mother."I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list." - Susan Sontag.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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