Lady Bird: An Unusual Adolescent Story

As a coming of age film, Lady Bird’s story is familiar to the audience, but what is refreshing is that it captures the spirit of youth that struggle with issues at home.

The  film focuses on a high school student, Christine ( “Lady Bird”, acted by Saoirse Ronan) who wants to leave the care of the household of a small city of California to New York City for school. The movie deals with the ups and downs of family and friendship.

Associations, boyfriends, romances, first-time forbidden fruits, college entrance exams, and the most sophisticated is the process of best friends all broken and recovered.

In the most of time of the film, Christine is refusing to accept herself. This is exemplified by the fact that she uses a nondescript name, “Lady Bird”, instead of her given name.

“Lady Bird” can be directly translated as Miss Birds – people seem to want to become a bird fly away when you want to flee, a new life.

When two people of similar characters encountered, a war broke out.

But Lady Bird’s relationship with the household and her mother is the core theme throughout the film. In terms of characters, mother and daughter are both similar and opposite.

First of all, they are sentimental. The first scene shows them wiping their tears, after listening to the story record in the car .

Secondly, they talked without measuring what they say, and their words are mean. On the one hand, when they quarrel with each other, they leave no room for talking.

On the other hand, we saw that Christine is also rude to her friends, nun-beloved nuns at school, and even unrelated teachers. This is the impact of family patterns on how people treat people.

However, Christine’s brother and father have a clearly mild personality. I prefer to believe that Lady Bird’s character is partly influenced by her mother and particularly by her reckless disrespectful character.

The struggle exists because of the necessary demand for resistance and freedom in adolescence. Not all mothers and daughters in fights are similar in character to the mother and daughter in the film , but in adolescence we all  have fights with parents regardless of gender.

Lady Bird ‘s focus is not on the class, but on the course of growth. It is precisely for this reason that the film reflects others’ story widely even it is a person with a very different life track.

Growing up means accepting the “self”, thus refers not only to the individual but also to many factors from outside. Name, family, hometown, and even primary school education such as Lady Bird.

In the process of growing up, Christine must face up to the fact that she cannot act as a hero. One reason is that her maths is not good and she cannot go to school in Yale. Another is that she is from a small town or learning in a little Catholic high school .

To some extent, it is much easier to accept the former than the latter because one is always more likely to forgive one’s own inadequacies.

However, people can shift their attention from their own defects. Also, they can gain fullness and satisfaction in their constant struggle with their families.

Growth in the film, not only requires girl to accept her mother, but also requires a strong mother to accept her daughter to be complete.

In one scene, Christine passes her driving test. The driving license symbolizes the recognition of her hometown growth. Finally she was able to drive a car to enjoy the scenery of the small town. She reaches a true reconciliation with her mother and her hometown.

Big city’s clear sky spreads freedom as well as loneliness.

The movie begins with a quarrel between the mother and daughter in the car. It ends with the daughter’s compromise with her mother in a phone message.

Christine:”You love me, but do you really understand me?”

Mother:”I only want you to be the best yourself.”

Christine:”But if this has been the best me?”

When Christine finally comes to New York, she loses her long-term goal of leaving the town. After accepting the name, accepting the family, accepting the homeland, life for her, starts now.

After all, the fight against our own shortcomings is a lifelong one-man show. It’s hard and lonely, no audience and no applause.

Overall, although there are some elements from previous youth films, the main point of Lady Bird’s story is not dream, but life, growth and experience, which is close to our own story. Maybe you haven’t reached your dream but you’ve certainly had youth.

Degree of recommendation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Shape of Water (2017) – IMDb

Director’s View: Greta Gerwig on Lady Bird’s perfect Rotten Tomatoes score