James’s review published on Letterboxd:
Greta Gerwig's directorial debut is nothing short of astounding. It looks like the work of an established master, confident in everything from its subject matter, storytelling and themes to its cinematography and editing.
I quickly fell in love with the infectious charm and intellect she brought to her acting, something that was perfected many times with Noah Baumbach. His influence is evident on Lady Bird, but make no mistake, this is Gerwig's film.
Clearly autobiographical, or at least somewhat, it draws on her experiences of transitioning to adulthood in early 2000s Sacramento. Coming of age dramas are in no short supply but rarely are they as honest, emotionally engaging and charming as this. Somehow Gerwig has managed capture the ambition and wit seen in her on screen characters and transpose them to behind the camera. Saoirse Ronan is very much playing (quite brilliantly I should add) a younger version of Gerwig with the strong personality and all the insecurities that come with it.
Perhaps most surprising to me was just how strongly developed and believable all the characters are. They all get time to shine, show their emotions and have 'moments', even if only briefly. The mother-daughter aspect is easily the best thing in this film, with some incredibly moving scenes.
Lady Bird is the continuation of an already bright career and potentially the beginning of an even brighter one.