Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Saoirse Ronan; Brooklyn) is a senior at a parochial school in Sacramento, CA. She is there on scholarship and is a decent, if average, student. Her Mom, Marion (Laurie Metcalf Roseanne) works as a psychiatric nurse and her dad, Larry (Tracy Letts; The Big Short) is a computer programmer who gets laid off. They don't have a lot of money and with Lady Bird's (a nickname she has given herself) grades it seems she is destined to live at home and go to a California college nearby, the idea of which makes Lady Bird miserable.As she navigates her senior year, we see Lady Bird join the Drama club and getting her first boyfriend, Danny (Lucas Hedge; Manchester by the Sea), Losing said boyfriend in a rather shocking way, blowing off her best friend, Julie (Beanie Feldstein; Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) to hang out with the cool girl, Jenna (Odeya Rush; The Giver) in order to get closer to her new crush Kyle (Timothee Chalamet; Call Me By Your Name) and losing her virginity to the aforementioned Kyle. All of this seems to be the usual fodder for a coming of age movie but the real drama here is the love/hate relationship between Lady Bird and Marion. As we watch Marion become increasingly frustrated with and critical of Lady Bird and listen as Lady Bird asks her mother, " Why do you hate me?" we can't help to feel the anguish and heartbreak between these two females.
Gerwig hits the nail on the head for her first solo directorial project. There are no odd camera angles or superfluous shots that unnecessarily mess up the flow of the film. As the writer, her insight into this mother-daughter relationship is raw and gritty and makes one wonder how much comes from her own life. Her love letter to Sacramento is almost as insulting as it is touching
Ronan is excellent as the lead role and the talent we saw from her in Brooklyn is once again evident here. She runs the gamut of teenage emotion – happiness, giddiness, sadness, anger, despair – and brings the audience along on her journey. Metcalf is the perfect complement to Ronan and their chemistry is as palpable and volatile as most mother/daughters. Letts, Feldstein, Hedge, and Chalamet all add another layer to this complex story and their performances are terrific.
The Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition video with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The outdoor shots are bright and full and showcase what is meant to be the Sacramento suburb. The DTS-HD master audio 5.1 is outstanding with the dialogue clearly heard in the center channel and the background (including a terrific score) subtly sitting in the side channels. The combo pack only offers two extras - Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Greta Gerwig and Cinematographer Sam Levy and "Realizing Lady Bird" Featurette – which are both interesting and informative.As I am currently experiencing similar situations with my teenage daughter, this film hit close to home and was difficult for me to watch as I relive some painful emotions of heartbreak from a headstrong and rebellious child. However, this statement is not meant to diminish the skillful way Gerwig broaches the sensitive subjects and emotions displayed by this truly talented cast. It merely means she got it exactly right. Even if you don't have kids, you would have to have a cold, stone heart to walk away from this movie unaffected.