Lady Bird

Lady Bird ★★★★½

some notes

1. I grew up in sacramento
2. I was lady bird's age during the time the movie takes place
3. I have never seen the specificity of sacramento depicted on screen, and it is peculiar to see it that way, through someone else's eyes, the way that you see new york or chicago or paris or london. it is a cliche to say that a movie is a "love letter to city x" or that "city x is a character in movie y" but lady bird (the film) is in love with the city of sacramento in the same way that lady bird (the character) realizes she is in love with sacramento at the end of the movie
4. places are freighted with memories, weighed down by them. when you live in a place for a long time, particularly, you can lay down the layers of your memory over the geography of the place like papier-mache on a frame. the places -- a bend in the road, a vista, a particular building in a particular light -- these all become like a latticework
5. I didn't go to a catholic high school, but I almost did
6. I never wanted to escape sacramento, but I did
7. greta gerwig's directing is so assured and confident -- nothing about this film feels like a debut movie. there is never a cut that feels awkward, which is amazing, particularly with the way that the film treats time
8. saoirse ronan's acting is similarly incredibly naturalistic -- in fact it didn't occur to me to take note of the fact that I was, in fact, watching an actor when I watched her. this sounds like a rudimentary compliment, as (I think) the average person would probably say that good acting doesn't look like acting. in practice, though, a lot of what we describe as good acting, in fact, leaves just enough brushstrokes to remind you that we're watching good acting (see: p much every male character in The Godfather)
9. the way the movie steps through time -- swiftly then slowly then swiftly again -- is exactly how you remember things when you think back on them. in this way, watching the film feels like watching a memory.
10. gerwig is supposedly planning a quartet of movies about sacramento and I will watch each one.
11. I wouldn't know a dave matthews song if I tripped over it but I can tell you that crash into me really was playing quite often in sacramento in 2002, a fact which I know because the topic of the band -- invariably called "dave" by those discussing it -- came up quite often
12. there is a sacramento kings mural in the movie -- if you were in sacramento and a sports fan at the time you'll understand why this was important to include
13. I plan on watching this film many more times, and this is not a feeling that I have about even some movies I'd consider my favorites. this is a movie that demands to be revisited, and not for plot twists or anything like that.
14. "don’t you think they’re the same thing? love and attention?" do I? I'm not sure, but lady bird's mother does. so does lady bird.