As an actor, Greta Gerwig has been a welcome and balanced screen presence – whimsical and clever, spirited and earnest. She brings those same qualities – plus a few more – to her writing and directing debut, Lady Bird, a loosely autobiographical story of a confused teenage girl growing up during the early Noughties.
Christine McPherson – aka Lady Bird – entertains lofty aspirations – “I want to live!” she declares – of going to Paris or one of the storied east coast liberal arts schools. She lives in Sacramento with her parents – a hardworking mother (Roseanne’s Laurie Metcalf) and her easygoing father (Tracy Letts). As played by Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird is a mixed bag of emotions – hurtling between delight, sorrow, fear and anger, full of abrupt, capricious energy.
As this film develops, it becomes apparent that Lady Bird’s college dream is part of a warm, generous character study of a young woman in the process of working out who she is, and all the hazards that follow.