Elle Driver’s review published on Letterboxd:
I've lost track at how many times I've seen this movie/logged it, and my countless experiences with this film. But for this entry I'd like to devote this experience to an occurrence that happened today after the film finished and it made me think a lot, I felt the need to share it.
My film class this semester is higher level and divided into three parts. For the sake of discretion my professor for my lecture and movie meetings is "Dr. V" (a peculiar and funny young man) and my screenwriting professor is "Dr. M" (a lovely and sweet young woman). I love both of them so far and Dr. M brought about one of my most interesting experiences with this film. I brought up Lady Bird on Tuesday and Dr. M goes "I need to catch up on awards season don't talk about it I haven't seen it yet" and I immediately erupted. "You must see it!!" said Dr. V and I in unison. Dr. M says "well I haven't had the chance because where I live they don't play films like Lady Bird close to me, so I've been unable to watch so many films. But I'm dying to see it" and shockingly enough my male professor says "it's a done deal. We'll go as a class, next class day. UIL will mess up the schedule anyway so we'll ditch your screenwriting quiz and go ahead and watch Lady Bird!" I of course was filled with glee. It would be the god knows what time I watched it in theaters. I already knew what to expect but I wasn't expecting the aftermath.
I of course got extremely emotional as I always have at the end of Lady Bird. That airport scene, Christine waking to the young injured boy, Christine walking into the church, that final phone call - it all feels like a bit too much sometimes when viewing the film. After going through those emotionally overwhelming blows, my professor, Dr. M sits down with us and she begins to articulate. What she said completely moved me beyond words. Her face was red, she was a bit teary eyed and she says to us in the form of a speech: "when I was young, my passion was film. I told myself I wanted to be an actress. Until I grew up and found that I couldn't act. So I thought "darn I have to find something else in the film industry" so I thought "oh director! That'll work out!" So I went to film school for it. I got kicked out of film school, because it was too expensive. I eventually moved to los angeles to pursue directing head on. While I was there I also learned that I really really really liked screenwriting. So I tried and tried and tried and I never really had any success. I thought to myself I can do it, I know I can. And then I quit. I gave up my dreams. It's something that has haunted me my whole life. I grew up poor in East Texas, in the middle of nowhere, and I was given countless opportunities and it always seemed the odds were always against me. Like getting into film was a war against me. That I, a woman, was not built for this. So I gave up. I came back home here to Texas and for a long time I had no idea what to do. Eventually I decided that I would go back to school and finish my schooling. I became a film professor and I've taught all over and have even had the privilege to teach some academy award winners. But there's one thing that ultimately made me want to teach film, to inspire. To tell people, don't give up. I know your dream is hard and the road is tough, but please don't give up. If you want it don't give up." By this point my professor is crying, almost weeping to us. She continues "especially to my girls. A lot of my emphasis in this course is on women and the roles we play in cinema. From black women, latina women, trans women, asian women, every woman no matter what shape, size, color whatever. Our stories matter and we can make the change. If Greta Gerwig didn't work to get where she is now, stories like Lady Bird wouldn't exist. And I can't explain how transcendent and spiritually whole I feel after watching that film it brought out emotions in me I haven't felt in ages. I'm so happy at all the accolades this film has received but girls please be inspired by this; We have so much work to do we need more women we need these stories to be told. And boys, you need to be there for women and help them have an even playing field. But I wanted to finally say, Gerard thank you, for mentioning this film. It took me back to moments that shaped the woman I am today and why I wake up every day to teach students. Thank you. I'll see you all next week"
I wish I had recorded every word that came out of her mouth, hearing that felt uplifting. The girls in my class all looked determined and enlightened by her "speech". But it made me think about things I had never thought about in my past viewings. Aside from the technical aspects, the philosophy, etc Lady Bird was necessary. Not just to our generation, but to so many people. My mother, a 54 year old woman found resonance within this film and opened up to me. The film brought my mom and I together after months of not talking. My best friend and I shared an intimate moment during this film. In a viewing I saw a mother and her daughter embrace one another. So many occurrences but this speech really brought it to fruition, this is a film for the ages. I have no idea how Greta Gerwig has crafted what she has but there's no denying Lady Bird is a master class of cinema. I hope this film continues to inspire people and I've really had my eyes opened as of recently. We need more films like this that inspire certain demographics that are at a disadvantage like women and people of color and so on. Cinema is for everyone and no one should feel as though they're being left out because they're not represented enough or given equal opportunity. I feel as though the community needs to work towards doing better because this truly is a problem and I can't necessarily express how much it bothers me. But that's why I felt like sharing this. I would say "thank you Lady Bird" but I've said that so many times already. Instead I'll say: thank you Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan, for being such vessels for inspiration and catharsis for those of us who needed it the most. I will forever be grateful for this film.