Lady Bird is a movie with characters playing simple, but effective roles with great dialogue. Director Greta Gerwig tells the story of Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson played by Saoirse Ronan who is struggling with her adolescent years and is engaged in a rocky relationship with her mother Marion McPherson played by Laurie Metcalf, a registered nurse, who works double shifts to make ends meet. The rock that keeps Christine afloat is her dad Larry McPherson played by Tracy Letts. He goes back and forth between mother and daughter as a peacemaker, showing love and compassion to both. Adding the family’s problems is that Larry lost his job and being over 50, he finds it difficult to gain employment as he is competing for the jobs that are now going for his children. Yes there are other siblings in the McPherson family, but they don’t bring much to the story-line.
We see a lot of Christine’s interaction in her Catholic school, include the rules that go with it. Some of the dialogue is funny, and at times insensitive. We see her engage in relationships and learning the ups and downs that come with them and even the heartbreaks and disappointments. We experience the beauty of friendship between Christine and her best friend Julie Steffans played by Beanie Feldstein. We see Christine’s insecurities, one of which causes her to trade her best friend’s friendship for one with a more wealthy student. We see her give her friend a wrong home address that leads to a classier house, because she is not proud of her parents Sacramento home.
What makes “Lady Bird” works is the length it goes to portray the strained relationship between Christine and her mother. Christine wants to go to college in New York after she finishes High School, but her mom prefers that she stays closer to home in a more affordable college. We experience their agony and as we watch their struggles, we get the feeling of wanting to step in and amend it in he way we believe we know how.
“Lady Bird” is a good film, one that would leave you wanting more as you leave the theater. I give it 4 Stars out of 5.