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Lady Bird

“Lady Bird” (2017)

Studio A24

*****

“Lady Bird” is the most refreshing film on adolescence in a long time. Thanks to Greta Gerwig, her directional debut is fantastic, everything is in place, keen, realistic, charming and humorous (and serious, too) all in the right spots. Yes, adolescence is a turbulent, experimental, and growing time in life that seem often to work against him or her. Then the adolescent has to be under the roof of parents, oh, those people we call parents, the ones hopefully to guide into adulthood. Values, good ones –well, pray those ones be the frontrunner.

“Lady Bird’ is the title character played by Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn” [2015), in large part has a turbulent relationship with her mother, Marion McPherson (Laurie Metcalf). Her mother tells her and her father Larry (Tracy Letts) cannot afford to send her to Columbia, Yale or Penn and barely can afford to send her to a college in California (where they live), Sacramento to be exact. “Lady Bird”, whose real name is Christine, doesn’t want to go to Catholic college, she’s already at a Catholic high school with not the best of grades.

“Lady Bird” (perhaps Greta at Lady Bird’s age) go through what most teenagers do is find someone they like. Her boy she goes for is Danny (Lucas Hedges) who’s a nice kid, rather shy and reserved. However, the relationship is dashed discovering he’s gay. The next boy, named Kyle (Timothee Chalancet) she falls for is bombastic and self- centered.

Lady Bird’s best friend Julie Steffans (Beanie Feldstein) exchange little things as Julie remarks,” What about terrorism?”, curiously Lady Bird responses,” Don’t be Republican”. Lady Bird’s sentiment about Sacramento, she sarcastically says the city Is like “the Midwest of California”. Her goal is to leave Sacramento for the East coast, but is frustrated by her parents who cannot afford to send her there as well as her grades are so-so at best. One of her teachers, Sister Sarah Joan (Lois Smith) finds the young woman promising down the road.

It is disturbing Lady Bird disrespects her mother even by scrawling “f__k you mom” on her pink cast after injuring herself in a fit of anger. She and Julie get caught eating unconsecrated communion hosts by another student. Another incident in an assembly of students in the gymnasium as a teacher tells a true story about the ills of abortion, Lady Bird cruelly snaps back at her by saying an abortion by her mother means she wouldn’t have to listen to her.

I remember when I felt the warmth and delight from John Hughes’ 1984 film “Sixteen Candles”, shows the common angst of adolescence devoid of the usual movies about teenagers oversexed and overly rebellious. “Lady Bird” by the skilled hands of Greta Gerwig, not to mention her very good writing in “Frances Ha”(2013),” Mistress America”(2015) and “Nights and Weekends”(2008). She is wonderful on screen which the three previous I mention all by fine director Noah Baumbach feature her in the starring role. A similar very good feeling I felt for “Lady Bird”, a classy film that audiences will love. (Critics already love it; by the time of this writing Rotten Tomatoes gives 144 Fresh: 0 Rotten.)

Running time: 93 minutes. Director: Gerta Gerwig. Cast: Saoirse Ronan (Christine ‘Lady Bird).

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