By INDIA KRUG – Coming-of-age films are becoming increasingly difficult to make without seeming cliché, simply because Hollywood is already stocked full of them. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Edge of Seventeen, or basically any movie made in the 1980s has told the story of the quirky teen. So what makes Lady Bird different from the latter?
Let’s begin with the protagonist. A girl with messily-dyed pink hair wears a vibrant arm cast — the result of leaping out of a moving car during an argument with her mother. Her dramatic features stand out against the warm hues of California.
Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson is a hero for the masses with her somewhat impetuous yet strangely endearing personality. Everyone in the theater wants to see her succeed.
The plot, although occupied with many twists and turns (such is life), is candid. Lady Bird, despite being unsure of what she wishes to pursue in college, knows that she wants to attend one far away from Sacramento, “in Connecticut or New Hampshire, where writers live in the woods.”
Over the course of her senior year at a Catholic high school, she maneuvers through friendships and relationships, involved in a prolonged game of tug-of-war with her mother.
Sophomore Caleb Hockenberry says, “The film is incredible at portraying a situation that is realistic and believable. If I wasn’t dedicated to the character so early on, it could be just another teen movie, but the character and the issues she faces feel relatable and make me more in love with the movie.”
She is joined by her best friend Julie, a pleasantly plump girl with a heart of gold. The pair finds their own little ways to revolt against the school’s exorbitant rules, on one occasion stealing and eating the communion wafers.
Lady Bird goes through two relationships during the year, the first being with Danny, a flamboyant young man she meets at rehearsals for the fall musical. Her second boyfriend can be found reading obscure novels throughout the film, an angsty musician known as Kyle.
The relationship between Lady Bird and her mother is more authentic than many of us would care to admit. Each string of snide remarks is followed by comedic relief that assures watchers of their tough love for one another.
The filmmakers were faced with a dilemma: be accurate in their depiction of high school life and make it entertaining enough for the movie to be watchable. Tenth grader Reese McFarlane says, “High school is difficult both mentally and emotionally for a lot of students, and I think that overall it is made out to be a lot better than it actually is.” Through its whimsical nature and loveable characters, Lady Bird provides a truthful narrative about the ups and downs of adolescence.
The writer and director of Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig, has forged a girl who may be flawed and rootless on one side but is emboldened and driven on the other. In many ways, Lady Bird is a reflection of all teens.
In the 21st century, films made by women are important to showcase. Senior Clara Sherwood states, “Women make up half of the population, but they are still striving to make up half of Hollywood.”
This film about strong females created by a strong female is a must-see.
[Photo by India Krug]
Photo Caption: Sophomore Caleb Hockenberry plays the Lady Bird trailer on his Chromebook.