Tonight I got invited to a free screening of a new A24 film called Lady Bird. Directed by Greta Gerwig and Cinematographed by Sam Levy, Ladybird is coming of age film starring Saoirse Ronan as Ladybird.
*****POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD*****
Lady Bird struck me as a moments in time coming of age film. What this means is it's very character driven. The plot is not extremely apparent but you know it's there without the traditional rising and falling action, inciting incident and conclusion - which is much more how life really is; a buildup of moments that don't necessary feed into the other but nonetheless effect the next.
Set in 2002, we follow Christine, *eh hum* Ladybird through her experiences in Catholic school, being one of the youngest in her class, exploring her sexuality, discovering who she is as a person, as a woman, and as a Catholic in relation to her family and specifically her mother. Lady Bird gives me Real Women Have Curves directed by Josefina Lopez vibes without the explicit feminism. Ladybird is a girl boss who has no idea how truly badass she is.
The film opens with Ladybird and her mother in a hotel room and we find out that they had been on a college visit. On the way back, they bond over listening to a podcast story and then end up in a typical teenage girl versus mother argument. While this argument seemed familiar, it was just the surface of a deeply rooted broken mother and daughter relationship that was also rooted in love.
Ladybird also touches on a few contemporary socio-political issues... Affirmative action, 9/11, Big Brother, Feminism, etc. but I can go on all night about that so I'm going to either save that for another blog or revise this one on a later date!
When mom's are being, well, mom's we can't help but assume there's just an unspoken hate behind all of the "clean your room"s, "you're so ungrateful"s, and honest opinions but when we're teenagers we don't realize what our parents do and deal with behind the scenes. It's kind of like a film - Mom and dad are the producers and we're the directors and actors - we really get to do what we want and have fun but within specific increments of time and on a budget. When we don't is when shit hits the fan but most of the time, we're the ones who threw it up in the air. While we will never truly understand where our parents are coming from we can try to empathize with them. On the other hand, parents can be dramatic. They love to use the line "you don't think I was a teenager before?" while they truthfully forget themselves that they were a teenager, that they didn't listen to their parents, and that they wanted to make their own mistakes instead of being told not what to do when they were our age. I think parents and teenagers both have a lot to learn and take from Ladybird which shows how easy it is to miss important moments of your kids or parents lives just because of a petty fight.
In terms of sexuality, Lady Bird gives us realistic girl-talk between Ladybird and her best friend, Julie. Most films keep girl talk "clean" which is just really not how girls talk. Ladybird and Julie talk a lot about sex because THAT'S WHAT TEENAGERS DO, NOT JUST BOYS AND THAT'S OKAY. Anyway, Ladybird even goes as far as saying that she loves dry humping more than actual sex - which from the looks of her experience I totally get. We also get a glimpse of the homosexuality in Ladybird. Ladybird and Julie walk-in on Ladybird's boyfriend at the time, Danny, making out with another boy in the bathroom which was an apparent end to their relationship. While some may see the grudge Ladybird had against him as homophobic, she truly was just upset about being cheated on and lied to. In reconciliation, Danny showed up at her job where he begged her not to tell anyone and she comforted him while he sobbed on her shoulder.
Sexuality in any sense is still such a taboo topic outside of hyper feminist and LGBT+ circles. Why? The easy answer to that is that active feminists and LGBT+ people are already labeled as sexual deviants but honestly if being a sexual deviant means loving and living your sexuality then why doesn't everyone want to be? We all feel urges and if they're there how is it anything BUT natural and why would you want to stop them if, and only if, they aren't hurting anyone? Just a thought.
Lady Bird ends with something most college students know all too well. When it's a Sunday and you know that you should be doing homework or something else important but you sit back and realize that you truly miss your parents so you give them a call... and they don't answer. I think that's when you really realize you're an adult now and you're actually on your own, of course most of us still have our parents helping us out but you are on your own and it's both saddening and empowering.
Ladybird is a breathe of fresh air and a break from the typical Hollywood motion pictures we've been seeing lately.
It struck every single chord.
I highly suggest you go out to see Lady Bird to support these amazing filmmakers and I hope to create film(s) that affect others the very same way that Lady Bird affected me tonight.
Thank you, Greta Gerwig for sharing this story with us.
Each day we get on average 23 hours, 53 minutes, and 4 seconds to make it something we're proud of.