Lady Bird (CIFF 2017)

After previously co-directing and co-writing a few movies in the past, Greta Gerwig takes a solo credit for both positions with Lady Bird. The film, which one can only assume is semi-autobiographical, stars Saoirse Ronan as Christine, who prefers to be called “Lady Bird,” and follows her over the course of her final year of high school. It’s a coming-of-age movie that goes over a lot of familiar territory, but nonetheless finds its own voice early on and never lets the audience feel like we’re watching something we’ve seen dozens of times.

Part of the credit falls on the actors. Saoirse Ronan got a lot of praise for Brooklyn a couple of years back, and this is an equally great performance. She’s helped out with a supporting cast consisting of Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lois Smith, Lucas Hedges, Odeya Rush, Timothée Chalamet, and Beanie Feldstein, but she’s always front and center, captivating us.

The rest of the credit goes to Gerwig, whose script is funny, fresh, and surprisingly emotionally involving. We get a good feel for these characters as the movie goes on, and the relationships that develop and evolve between them are complex. The story is more universal than initially appears. And, quite frankly, it’s just entertaining. It checks off all the marks you’d want, and at only just north of 90 minutes leaves you wanting more. Lady Bird is great.

Conclusion: Lady Bird is a fantastic movie and a wonderful solo directing and writing debut for Greta Gerwig.

Recommendation: Lady Bird is definitely worth watching when it’s released.

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