I blame the trailer. Lady Bird wasn’t what I expected it to be. And now that I’ve seen the film, I can no longer ‘see’ what it was I thought it’d be. So don’t ask me. I was experiencing a slightly empty feeling on the way home from the cinema last night. But the film has stayed with me, and I believe I have worked out what it was, other than ‘not the trailer.’
Lady Bird – her own name for herself, which seems better than the one her parents came up with 17 years earlier – is trying to work out what she wants to do with her life after she leaves school. Many of us have been there.
Sacramento is dead boring and her mother hates her. None of that is true, of course, but it feels that way. As the rather fabulous old nun at Lady Bird’s Catholic school says, she seems to love Sacramento. But she wants to go to college on the East Coast, she dreams of living in a posh house and she wants a boyfriend. Or she thinks she does.
Her mother doesn’t hate her. She is ‘merely’ exhausted, working double shifts, worrying about her husband being unemployed, worrying about her beloved daughter disappearing off to some unknown and probably dangerous place. They have so little money Lady Bird has to resort to stealing the magazine she wants, and it might seem odd that they then go shopping for a dress for Thanksgiving, and later on a prom dress. What they do, is try everything on and when Lady Bird has decided, her mother sits up all night sewing a copy of the winning dress. That’s not hate.
It’s easy to lose track of who is your true friend. Lady Bird tries a few new ‘friends’ and ‘boyfriends’ until she realises who she needs.
This is actually quite a lovely film, once you know what you’ve come for. I only wish someone hadn’t picked bits for the trailer that really should have belonged to some other film.
Saoirse Ronan is always great.