Saoirse Ronan is ‘Lady Bird’. She’s a senior in high school. Lady Bird and her mother — done in a wonderfully tightly wound way by Laurie Metcalf — have a typical mom and daughter relationship. It’s not all out war but close.
They have many conflicts but the film’s focus is on where she should go to college. The girl wants a school as far away as possible from home. An East coast school would be preferable. Mom wants her — more affordably — close to home.
Lady Bird is also stretching into serious love territory for the first time. It’s a typical teen girl experience with results girls everywhere experience.
Ronan (Brooklyn, Grand Budapest Hotel) is a serious young actress with major league skills. She brings it home here and has as much fun with this character as with any other she’s played. Her Lady Bird is bored to tears with school, anxious to get on with her life and even more anxious to be rid of her mom.
Best of all — you believe her.
Metcalf — who has come a long way since TV’s Rosanne — is also very good as her control-freak mom. Their love-hate relationship rings true and is authentic. Metcalf is perfectly loving one second and then a controlling shrew the next.
Lady Bird is written and directed by writer/actress Gretta Gerwig who penned Francis Ha and Mistress America. She’s a great writer as well as an excellent actress best known for arthouse flicks like Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love.
There is a lot to love about this film. Normally the teen-girl/teen-angst genre is predictably sucky with performances from an up and coming cutie. That’s not the case here. This is rich, deep storytelling and definitely worth catching. Lady Bird is a bird of a different teen angst feather is rightfully belongs on the list of the year’s best.
Movie name: ‘Lady Bird’
Director: Greta Gerwig
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Lois Smith, Tracy Letts, Odeya Rush, Lucas Hedges, Timothee Chalamet
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated R for mature themes and language. It’s playing at the AMC Kennewick 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.