Film Review: ‘Lady Bird’ teaches valuable life lessons about growing up and being yourself

A promotional poster for the movie "Lady Bird," featuring Saoirse Ronan.
A promotional poster of the movie.

Riley Dodd
Oxford Stories

Coming-of-age films always fill a spot in my heart because I can relate to them. This is exactly how the film “Lady Bird” made me feel.

Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird” follows a 17-year-old girl named Christine, called Lady Bird, played by Saoirse Ronan, and her hardworking mother, Marion, (Laurie Metcalf.)

“Lady Bird” is a story of love, forgiveness, complicated relationships, and finding oneself.

The year is 2002 in Sacramento, California. Lady Bird is a senior at a Catholic high school, who like every other 17-year-old, is trying to figure out where to go to college. Her father, Larry McPherson, played by Tracy Letts, was recently let go from his job, forcing Marion to work double shifts as a nurse. 

Lady Bird does not have many options for college. She does not like that she is from Sacramento, let alone California. She dreams of moving to an East Coast city like New York to become cultured. Marion doesn’t like the fact that her daughter wants to move to the East Coast because of money issues. This causes a rift between the two.

Lady Bird is not like the other girls at school. She’s not popular, comes from a low-income family, and gives off an “I do not care” attitude. Her best friend, Julie, played by Beanie Feldstein, is also struggling to find her place. She wants to be one of the popular girls. 

The girls decide to try out for a high school play, where Lady Bird meets Danny, played by Lucas Hedges, the star of the play. Lady Bird soon becomes infatuated with Danny and thinks they are meant to be. This feeling is short-lived after Danny gives his attention to another person. 

Shortly after Danny, Lady Bird meets a guy named Kyle, played by Timothee Chalamet, a typical high school cool boy that I feel like I went to high school with. Kyle plays with Lady Birds’ emotions and does some unforgivable things. These two boys teach her valuable lessons.  

There are many movies that depict high school and college. Some are not portrayed accurately. Some are. This movie does a perfect job of portraying both. There are moments that happen to Lady Bird in high school that have happened to me. 

The movie shows awkward conversations with crushes, stupid teenage arguments you have with your mother, fights with your best friend, and trying to get out of your town to a place far away. Every teenager has those exact moments in high school.

Ronan was made for the role of Lady Bird. I could tell she tried her hardest to make this movie seem real. 

When Lady Bird talks to a crush, it is exactly how a teenager would. When Lady Bird gets upset or mad, she calls her mother like a teenager. Her chemistry with Laurie Metcalf, who plays her mother, is extraordinary. The acting almost convinces me they are actually related. They show the real moments of a mother and daughter. 

In real life, a mother always wants the best for their child, even if the child does not want the same thing. Marion does not want Lady Bird to go to college on the East Coast. She tries to offer honest truth and advice, which Lady Bird dismisses.

Throughout the movie, you think Marion does not love her daughter because of the way she treats her, when in reality, she is scared of losing her daughter and showing those emotions, so she acts angry.  

By the end of the movie, I felt I had grown up with Lady Bird and knew her. The writing by Greta Gerwig is spectacular because she made me feel like I was Lady Bird going through hard times. Nothing about this movie feels artificial; it feels real. 

I believe that “Lady Bird” is a movie that everyone should watch, no matter what age. It teaches valuable lessons about heartbreak, growing up, letting go of someone, and most importantly, how to live your life as you want and to be yourself.  

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