jonathan edge’s review published on Letterboxd:
i've always liked Greta Gerwig but never been a *huge* fan as many other users here are. same goes for Saoirse Ronan. i saw this at LFF, where it was playing secretly as the surprise film, which i had all fingers crossed hoping it would turn out to be another movie. yet despite all this, Lady Bird utterly floored me. i don't like to use the term but the second the film ended "instant classic" was what first came to mind.
i don't wanna make reductive comparisons that could annoy people here, but to me this feels a lot like the final year of Boyhood stretched over one film (which, for the record, is huge praise seeing as Boyhood is my all time favorite film). there's no big overarching narrative, we're just given a glimpse into this character's life. the mother-daughter relationship is central to the film, so smart and nuanced and played beautifully by Ronan and Laurie Metcalfe, both of whom deliver career-best work.
it's remarkable that despite crafting a story as touchingly specific and proudly feminine as this, it manages to be so universally relatable. being the age that the lead is at the end of the film, i saw so much of myself in this character, and the film never falls victim to the traps many teen movies do, of being condescending or cringeworthy. everything here is totally emotionally honest, every beat rings true, from the fleeting, often dumb yet personally significant high school relationships to the complicated and awkward ways we learn to express our love and appreciation to each other. i started crying halfway through and laughed my way through tears for the rest of the film, because holy shit is this movie funny too.
i'm astounded that a movie like this exists, and coming from a first time solo director makes it all the more incredible. it's a film i'll struggle to ever properly review because to explain why it's so great would involve articulating some of the deeply personal connections it made with me, connections that few other movies come even remotely close to making. it's so smart, so funny, so honest, so joyous, so gut-wrenching and just so totally real. a complete revelation.
#LFF2017 - film 5