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Family Matters

"Lady Bird" soars across human nature


  • A24

It's easy to be nostalgic about the rotten moments in the past, since it's clear we made it out alive. But regardless of how positive the present might be, there are still those smells and textures that put us back in a different place or time, one in which everything seemed infinite and the future rolled out ahead like a red carpet... whether it's the lighting of a childhood bedroom, the sound of your first doggo barking or the opening swell of a song that got you through something awful.

"Lady Bird" doesn't cash in on the current trend of exploitation through nostalgia. Instead, it shows us a life couched in white American familiarity, set in a time too recent for us to miss and too far away to remember completely. Set in Sacramento, Calif., in 2002, "Lady Bird" will probably be described as a "coming-of-age drama" when it's actually altogether more.

Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson is a senior at a Catholic high school, struggling with her future. She hates Sacramento and thinks she would be happier on the east coast where she feels all the culture comes from. Her mother is perpetually disappointed with her work ethic and her father is eternally supportive, but Lady Bird tries to pay no heed: She's going to fully commit to every single idea or impulse she has...regardless of the consequences.

Writer/Director Greta Gerwig, star of "Frances Ha" and "20th Century Women," makes an astounding debut with "Lady Bird." Gerwig rose up the ranks as an actor in the mid-2000s' mumblecore film movement, collaborating with directors including Joe Swanberg, the Duplass Brothers and No