- A24 Films
The story is nothing more or less than a girl’s senior year of high school. It probes with humor, warmth and depth all of the following: a volatile mother-daughter relationship, the financial strains of college, high school theater, the navigation and pursuit of authentic friendship, the navigation and pursuit of one’s authentic self, class conflict, sexual tension, the special angst of the early aughts.
Telltale signposts will be familiar to any millennial who attended high school — in particular, Catholic high school — during that time. Immaculate Heart, the Sacramento prep school where Lady Bird McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) wanders and rebels, is bedecked with fashion trends, “We Remember 9/11” signage and cultural signifiers that feel ripped from 2002. One of Lady Bird’s romantic interests is a boy named Kyle (Timothée Chalamet) who asserts his radical status by rolling his own cigarettes and toting Howard Zinn’s The People’s History of the United States. It’s perfect. And it’s an eye for these details that make this Sacramento world feel so rich and real. Note: Apologists for the late-’90s Dave Matthews ballad “Crash into Me” will be delighted to learn of its enthusiastic support by the characters (and presumably, the filmmaker).
Opening with a quote from Joan Didion about Sacramento’s blandness, the film becomes a sort of ode to Gerwig’s hometown. Though Lady Bird calls Sacramento “the Midwest of California,” her love for its urban terrain and its natural beauty (and the people it produced!) abides. To a huge degree, Lady Bird argues, we are defined by where we come from. And that’s a good thing, a thing to savor.
- A24 Films