Plot: Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) is an eclectic young woman who wants to leave Sacramento behind, but her current lot in life doesn’t make seem likely. She gets in trouble at school, doesn’t perform well in class, and seems content to coast through while feeling entitled to opportunities. She and her mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf) clash often over Lady Bird’s life choices and direction, as her mom encourages a more realistic outlook on her future. At school, Lady Bird is best friends with Julie (Beanie Feldstein) and longs to be one of the rich, popular girls, while Julie seems content with her place in the social order. Meanwhile, Lady Bird tries to get into various East Coast schools, with a little help from her dad with the paperwork, all while keeping the applications a secret from her mother. As she explores her first romances, a trip into the social elite, and the trials and tribulations of her family drama, will Lady Bird find her place in the world or only feel even more out of place?
Entertainment Value: Lady Bird is an interesting movie, as it follows a lot of the usual indie movie cliches, but handles them well. So while the movie never feels fresh or all that original, it takes those well worn cliches and puts them to good use, giving us a quirky, colorful slice of life. This is a narrative we’ve seen countless times in similar movies, feeling almost like a checklist of quirky indie cinema, but it doesn’t come off like a retread. I appreciated how Lady Bird is shown as an entitled, often unlikable character, as often these colorful outsiders are portrayed as visions of misunderstood genius. That is certainly not the case with this character and perhaps that is a prime reason the movie rises above all the cliches. The performances help as well, with Saoirse Ronan as Lady Bird and Laurie Metcalf turning in fantastic work. Ronan is able to keep Lady Bird fun to watch, even when she is insufferable with her hipster persona and entitled outlook, which was no easy task. Metcalf is powerful in her role as well, while the two have great chemistry together and that relationship is a cornerstone of the narrative. The movie often feels pretentious, but when it leans on the characters over the narrative, the film is fun and even poignant. I had a lot of fun with Lady Bird and loved the performances and offbeat humor, even if the storyline was steeped in the usual indie cliches. So if you’re a fan of quirky comedies or colorful, offbeat cinema in general, Lady Bird is well worth a look.
No nakedness. An awkward sex scene unfolds, but that’s as close to sleaze as this one ever gets. No blood. A nosebleed, but no violence and as such, no need for rampant bloodshed or gore. Lady Bird does wildcard out of a moving car and talk about her period blood soaked vagina, but no violence in this one. The dialogue here is fun and offbeat, just what you’d expect from this kind of quirky, but mainstream aimed indie flick. Lady Bird is an entitled, pretentious brat and she is given a wealth of sharp and ridiculous lines. I appreciated how confrontational she is, as that led to some hilarious interactions with various characters. But she doesn’t have all the great lines, as the material spreads out fun dialogue across the entire roster of roles, letting each of these colorful characters shine at times. I do think the more impulsive, dark humor aspect of the writing is the most effective element, as when the movie tries to go deep, it comes off as forced and unearned. The mother/daughter dynamic is powerful, but the other attempts as emotion and depth just aren’t as effective. The movie is populated by colorful, quirky characters doing colorful, quirky things, so Lady Bird earns some points on the wackiness scale.
Overall Insanity: 5/10