As have many others, I liked Greta Gerwig’s 2017 “Lady Bird,” set around 2002. I was especially surprised to like Tracy Letts as the father who was laid off and couldn’t get another job. Saoirse Ronan has deservedly been much praised as the rebellious title character (né Christine). Laurie Metcalf’s character is very rough, but she is remarkable.
As usual, I adore Lois Smith, who herein plays the wise principal of a Catholic school in Sacramento. I am glad for Lady Bird that Sister Sarah Jones is there to protect her, even though LB is expelled (which was a certainty) after popping off against a long-winded anti-abortion speaker who has invoked her mother’s decision not to abort her as regrettable: words to the effect that then the assembly would not have to sit through her speech. The line is great, but the speaker’s look of total shock is the high point of the movie for me.
Timothée Chalaméet is pensive and accedes to LB’s need to be seen as having a boyfriend and for a prom date. I don’t understand why she is so bent out of shape to learn that he was not a virgin before she deflowered herself on him. Nor am I sure why her best friend , Julie (Beanie Fedstein), gets so annoyed with her, but there is a lovely prom night reconciliation (Kyle ends up not going to the prom after picking up LB, honking from the street to her father’s unhappiness of such treatment). Her earlier castmate/boyfriend (Merrily We Roll), Danny O’Neill is gawky as a boy not sure how to come out of the closet (after LB finds him kissing another boy in a bathroom stall).
I also don’t understand how Miguel (Jordan Rodrigues) is her brother. Must have been adopted, though Marion is having trouble supporting her husband and daughter). He is quite easy on the eyes though.
I like Jon Brion’s musical score, Dave Mathews’s song “Crash Into Me,” the complex relationships, especially the hard-pressed mother and restive daughter one (both of them brittle and outspoken), and the shots of Sacramento, a city I don’t know very well, though I have been to its museum twice, and Tamar’s wedding. As in “Riverdale,” class is a major focus, and I know why Marion wonders with dismay how she raised such a snob as a daughter (though I was more like her, or maybe like Kyle, or like LB’s father, than like the other characters).
©2018, Stephen O. Murray