Oh Saoirse Ronan. If there is a soul on earth with whom I’d want to clone myself with, it’d be you. Maybe it’s because you have three Academy Award nominations at the age of 23. Or perhaps it’s your perfect Irish accent and the ability to nail every hair color. Or even it’s solely because of your wardrobe in Brooklyn. Any way you put it, I’m going to love a Saoirse Ronan movie because I want to BE her.
I saw Lady Bird and of course we have to acknowledge the feat of this women made and directed film that was the first of its kind to achieve a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Also this bomb Entertainment Weekly cover.
Anyone who has known me for longer than six months (time for a costume/themed party to surface) knows that I’m dedicated to the craft of themed/period accurate anything. I get a high off of minute historical accuracies. I take anything seriously; from an early 2000s themed house party to a ’20s themed New Years Dance party (that was filled to the brim with uncostumed teenage swine) to my Halloween costumes. (Rory Gilmore, Silent Film Star, Fork in the Road) So the fact that this is technically a period piece was an added cherry on top. I say technically because it takes place in 2002/2003 and I was alive and kicking.
It goes past nostalgia for me – I was reliving moments of my last year of high school alongside Lady Bird. At one point she and her best friend “Julie” are in Julie’s kitchen before deciding to show up to prom and they are eating cheese and crackers and are so hyper and giddy. It captured those moments with your best friend when you are hysterical out of your minds for no reason and completely unaware of how loud you are. That’s adolescence to me – complete, unadulterated, uninhibited glee. And of course there’s the whole ditching your true best friend for the popular crowd for a few weeks and then come crawling back to your ride or die type of thing. Heaven be thanked for any surviving teenage best friendships.
It’s too easy to look back in retrospect at a teenager and want to shake them and say “SNAP OUT OF IT! THE WORLD DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND YOU.” But you can’t. Everyone has to ride that wave and bless our parents’ heart for it.
I wasn’t expecting it to be a father/daughter story since the mother/daughter relationship has taken all the limelight. Each character had dimension, but her dad illustrated the bridge between teenagedom and adulthood when you realize your parents are multifaceted. There’s the moment in the bathroom when Lady Bird asks her mom about dad’s pills, and her mom talks about how her dad has had depression for a long time. “I didn’t know.” Lady Bird said quietly. There are so many battles our parents fight on an invisible battlefield to us because they want us to feel secure, happy and protected. It’s only when our adolescent blinders start to fall off and we realize what extraordinary feats our parents complete.
What Lady Bird truly nails down is how we can’t rush the growing up process. You have to go through the selfish, insecure pranks, high school boy trash, conceited freshman intellectuals and push through all the barriers when you feel short of your potential and want more. Truly the only way through it, is through it. We all have to take our growing up right of passage, which some of us handle better than others. (Or pretend we do.)
You feel the agony of a strained relationship, the kind where nothing you say comes out right and everyone feels misunderstood. Christine (Lady Bird) shows a quick maturing at the end of the movie and uncovers her pure love for her mother. Although her mom felt betrayed by her wanting more than Sacramento and UC Davis, it was only by Christine going away that they could begin to come back together.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but absence can be absolutely brutal. You feel Christine’s homesickness subtly at first, but when she hears that Catholic church choir every memory of home and familiarity comes flooding back. There are always those moments when you arrive in a brand new place and almost anything can be construed as a tie back home, whether it’s a song, a meal or a photo. In the end, you are rooting for Lady Bird and her personal growth. Somehow we trust that she’ll be okay, and by default, we will too.