Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is a portrait of an artistically inclined young woman (Saoirse Ronan) trying to define herself in the eyes of her loving and disapproving mother (Laurie Metcalf) and searching for an escape route from her hometown of Sacramento. Moods are layered upon moods at the furious pace of late adolescence in this lovely and loving film, which shifts deftly from one emotional and comic register to the next.
Lady Bird is rich in invention and incident, and powered by Ronan, one of the finest actors in movies. Dominating the lens with peerless openness, Ronan brings magical life to the free-spirited title character. With Lucas Hedges and Timothée Chalamet as the men in Lady Bird’s life, Beanie Feldstein as her best friend, and Tracy Letts as her dad, this indie gem is so much more than a crowd pleaser: it is totally irresistible.
“You may think you’ve seen another young rebel or two fall in love, worry about college and sex, and spar with her mother—and you probably have, but never quite like this.” —A.O. Scott, New York Times