ON SCREEN · FILM
Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age comedy starring Saoirse Ronan is original, smart and totally irresistible.
“You may think you’ve seen another young rebel or two fall in love, worry about college and sex, and spar with her mother—and you probably have, but never quite like this.” —A.O. Scott, New York Times
Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is a portrait of an artistically inclined young woman (Saoirse Ronan) trying to define herself in the eyes of her loving and disapproving mother (Laurie Metcalf) and searching for an escape route from her hometown of Sacramento. Moods are layered upon moods at the furious pace of late adolescence in this lovely and loving film, which shifts deftly from one emotional and comic register to the next.
Lady Bird is rich in invention and incident, and powered by Ronan, one of the finest actors in movies. Dominating the lens with peerless openness, Ronan brings magical life to the free-spirited title character. With Lucas Hedges and Timothée Chalamet as the men in Lady Bird’s life, Beanie Feldstein as her best friend, and Tracy Letts as her dad, this indie gem is so much more than a crowd pleaser: it is totally irresistible. D: Greta Gerwig, US, 2017, Runtime: 1h41m
Check out this interview with director Greta Gerwig in the LA Times:
I’m sure you’d gone through the best-case and worse-case scenarios for that first screening in your head. How did the reality feel?
I think I only imagine worst-case scenarios. [laughs] It was the largest audience I’d ever seen it with, so it was terrifying but also incredibly gratifying. It is such a generous audience here. They’re all-in for whatever the ride is, and it feels so welcoming.
It was so meaningful when Barry Jenkins introduced the movie, I just started weeping. Barry and I met years ago on the festival circuit—he was with [his 2008 directorial debut] Medicine for Melancholy and I was with Nights and Weekends. So it kind of brought everything full circle for me.
One of my favorite things about Telluride is because it’s so small the directors are really there for each other. You look at another director and they feel the same thing you feel. I saw [Darkest Hour director] Joe Wright last night and it’s his seventh film, and I said, “Does it get easier?” And he said, “It never gets easier.” And I thought, “Oh, well, I guess I know what I’m in for.”
How long had you been thinking about directing?
I think I’ve always wanted to direct, but I didn’t go to film school. I was lucky enough to work in movies, and I think those became my film school in terms of acting and watching directors work and also writing and co-writing and producing.
When I finished the draft of this film, I had a moment of not being sure I should be the person to direct it because, however much you prepare, being a first-time director there are just things that you can’t know ahead of time. But I had to take the plunge. I had to start somewhere.