Is it possible to have a quiet contender for an Oscar best picture? If so, that is Lady Bird. The ultra-realistic coming of age story of a young girl in Sacramento, California.
Trying to find her path on the unstable grounds of High School; Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) dreams of a life anywhere other than where she is. Lady Bird dreams of moving out of Sacramento. She dreams of living in New York City, attending college, and having a life.
While Lady Bird thinks about the life that may be her life that is is experiencing some major milestones. The movie follows Lady Bird as she navigates family, friends, and romances. She toes the line of who she is and who she thinks she should be.
The ‘day-in-the-life’ styling of Lady Bird is warm and inviting. Setting the movie in 2002-2003 is a genius stroke. The setting is past but not so far gone prime target audiences are familiar with it. The technology is advanced enough for the story without getting in the way of the characters. Politics, social issues, and other worldly distractions are cast aside to tell a more intimate story.
Saoirse Ronan has been in many great projects but 2015’s Brooklyn set the stage for her in Lady Bird. The actress shows a level of control and professionalism far surpassing her age. In Lady Bird she switches through the unstable emotions of a teenager as if she has a built in dial. The movie delivers a full year of teenage experience in a tight 94 minutes.
The relationships in Lady Bird are so real they don’t need typical movie set ups. No exposition is necessary as the conversations unfold naturally. The actors embody the characters as if they had been playing them half their lives. When it comes to the relationships it doesn’t just mean the romances Lady Bird herself is after.
The strong relationships aren’t even written just for the titular character. Lady Bird’s brother, Miguel (Jordan Rodrigues), and girlfriend Shelly (Marielle Scott), are completely fleshed out characters despite limited screen time. The relationship between the McPherson family is so substantial they deserve a regular running series.
Writer/Director Greta Gerwig is well deserving of any accolade or awards that come her way. An accomplished actress who’s wading into the Directing pool. Gerwig shows an unparalleled amount of promise among her peers. In a world where women in Hollywood are finally starting to get their due both Ronan and Gerwig should be on everyone’s radar.
Without a single wasted frame Lady Bird pulls off a magic trick. It delivers every single it needs to while leaving the audience wanting. The talent in the film as a whole is unmatched in this year’s Oscar race and is a caliber rarely seen.