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Saoirse Ronan shines in this hilarious, sad coming of age high school drama

This year’s Best Picture nomination list is the strongest in years, with all nine films genuine cont..

By admin , in Life , at February 16, 2018

This year’s Best Picture nomination list is the strongest in years, with all nine films genuine contenders. It’s no coincidence that some of them – The Shape of Water; I, Tonya; Lady Bird – came out months ago in the US, allowing the hype machine to cement them in the minds of the Academy.

Greta Gerwig’s brilliant Lady Bird has been a rightful recipient of that hype; everybody has heard about Saoirse Ronan’s wonderful performance as the eponymous Lady Bird (her quaintly rebellious chosen name), a girl on the cusp of adulthood, trying to break through the invisible film of sadness that clings to her Sacramento suburb.

But foreknowledge does this film a disservice. It’s a quiet, delicate thing, the kind of movie better stumbled upon than pumped up on the steroids of Oscar buzz. It shrinks against this harsh spotlight, furling like a flower in the night.

That’s not to disparage this great piece of filmmaking – Gerwig directs with the candour, sensitivity and knowing humour of someone mining their own experience. Her characters feel real, often crushingly so, their lives hard-lived, their struggles against poverty and their own histories quietly heartbreaking.

Christine – AKA Lady Bird – is smart but not destined for the Ivy League. She hangs out with the geeky kids not because she’s great at maths, but because she’s a bit of a dork, and because she likes them. It’s essentially a super-smart high school drama, with Christine navigating the perilous route between friendship groups and boyfriends. She’s not sure who she is yet, and neither is anyone else; the only thing they all share is crippling insecurity.

The crux of the film is Christine’s relationship with her mother, a stern, judgemental woman who’s clearly been through some stuff, and is now passing her problems down the familial line. Her deep-burn passive aggressive comments provide both the movie’s moments of humour and horror, often at the same time.

“I wish I could live through something,” sighs Christine, declaring that the most interesting thing about 2002, when the film is set, is that it’s a palindrome. It’s a throwaway line, but it captures the great irony of youth, that you’re a passenger in the most exciting years of your life, wishing it were tomorrow.

Original Article