Coming-of-age movies will never go out of style as long as we continue to look back and obsess over those awkward, pimply lost years of our youth. They can be gritty, funny, schmaltzy, but few of them depict teenage life quite so accurately as Lady Bird.
The film opens with an argument between Lady Bird and her mother, setting the tone for the next 94 minutes of girl drama and spontaneous feuds. Have you ever been a teenage girl? Or perhaps seen one, up close and in real life, engaged in a shamelessly public row with their parents? This is the reality. Forget untainted, pre-mean girl Cady Heron on her first day of school or the charming ditziness of Cher in Clueless; Greta Gerwig’s autobiographical debut tells it like it is.
Self-named Lady Bird, played by Saoirse Ronan, is an unexceptional girl from Sacramento who longs to be different and is desperate to fit in. She wants to go where culture is. She wants to be the female lead in the school play and date the school’s most promising actor. She wants to drop out of the school play and date the anti-establishment nihilist. She doesn’t know what she wants - what teenage girl does?
Gerwig offers an authentic insight into the contradictions of life as a teenage girl: yearning for cooler friends then mourning your old ones, falling madly in love with a boy then erasing his name from your diary and replacing it with someone else’s, hating your mother then leaving heartfelt apologies on her answering machine.
I couldn’t help but feel transported into that life once again. I felt the ghost of those familiar teenage butterflies when accompanying Lady Bird on her dizzyingly romantic but inherently ridiculous first date, with heartfelt promises that, “if you had boobs, I wouldn’t touch them”. I was reminded of that dorky best friend love strong enough to withstand the storms of teenage melodrama.
Lady Bird broke records for its longstanding perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes and still maintains a 99% ‘fresh’ rating. I saw Lady Bird with my best friend; afterwards we went out for pizza and reminisced over all the forgotten memories of our teenage years that Lady Bird had caused to resurface.
If you were ever a teenage girl yourself and want to reminisce, or if you simply want a better insight into the mind of the next one you see antagonising her mother in Primark, then go see Lady Bird.