Review Roundup: Do Laurie Metcalf, Saoirse Ronan & Company Soar in LADY BIRD?
From writer/director Greta Gerwig comes LADY BIRD, in theaters November 10th. The all-star cast includes Broadway vets Saoirse Ronan (THE CRUCIBLE), Laurie Metcalf (A DOLL'S HOUSE PART 2, MISERY), Tracy Letts (WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?) The film also stars Lucas Hedges (YEN), Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein (HELLO, DOLLY!), Stephen McKinley Henderson and Lois Smith.
In Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig reveals herself to be a bold new cinematic voice with her directorial debut, excavating both the humor and pathos in the turbulent bond between a mother and her teenage daughter. Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf, a nurse working tirelessly to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird's father (Tracy Letts) loses his job.
Set in Sacramento, California in 2002, amidst a rapidly shifting American economic landscape, Lady Bird is an affecting look at the relationships that shape us, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home.
Let's see what the critics thought of LADY BIRD!
A.O. Scott, The New York Times: "I wish I could convey to you just how thrilling this movie is. I wish I could quote all of the jokes and recount the best offbeat bits. I'd tell you about the sad priest and the football coach, about the communion wafers and the Sacramento real estate, about the sly, jaunty editing rhythms, the oddly apt music choices and the way Ms. Ronan drops down on the grass in front of her house when she receives an important piece of mail. I'm tempted to catalog the six different ways the ending can make you cry. I'll settle for one: the bittersweet feeling of having watched someone grow in front of your eyes, into a different and in some ways improved version of herself. In life, that's a messy, endless process, which is one reason we need movies. Or to put it another way, even though Lady Bird will never be perfect, "Lady Bird" is."
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter: "But one takes away a good deal more from this film thanks to the marvelous performance by Ronan, who just seems to keep getting better all the time. She handles her many throwaway lines with great aplomb - they always land - and yet the undercurrent of uncertainty about the future (her schooling, money, parents, would-be boyfriends, career) is always near. No matter her faux pas, fibs, missteps and deceptions, you're with her all the way, and her sharpness of mind is such that it promises a bright future. Gerwig has provided the truth of that prediction with her work here."
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: "Just when you think there's nothing original or exciting left to mine from a coming-of-age story, along comes the totally irresistible Lady Bird - a reminder that no genre is played out when there's a new artist around to see it with fresh eyes. Screenwriter Greta Gerwig, in a spectacular solo directing debut (she co-directed Nights and Weekends with Joe Swanberg in 2008), has carved a brilliantly hilarious and heartfelt script out of her own teen life. Not a punch is pulled, and sentiment takes a holiday. All that's left is blunt honesty. "<
Peter Debruge, Variety: "Metcalf has never had a big-screen role as rich as this, and she makes the most of it, playing a character who doesn't hold back in criticizing her daughter's faults (from academics to future job prospects), but works double shifts in the PSYCH ward to provide for her future. On the surface, she's tough on Lady Bird, but Metcalf manages to communicate between each line how it all comes from a place of caring. The big showdown between them involves Lady Bird's choice of college, and what will become of THE FAMILY if she goes off to the east coast. Gerwig may have flown the nest, but "Lady Bird" is proof that she hasn't forgotten where she came from."
Brian Truitt, USA Today: "Writer Greta Gerwig's witty and endearing solo directorial debut navigates the absurdities and struggles of the transition into adulthood while striking an excellent balance between enjoyable quirk and touching emotion. An ode to being weird and embracing one's true self, Lady Bird is powered by spectacular performances from Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, both instant Oscar contenders as a daughter and mother whose relationship is fraught with resentment but never lacks love."
Sara Stewart, New York Post: "Gerwig's dialogue had a packed Toronto Film Festival theater in stitches. Bringing down the house was Lady Bird's zinger to her blase boyfriend (Timothee Chalamet) after losing her virginity...Her cast is top-notch, headed by Laurie Metcalf as Lady Bird's no-BS working mom, Tracy Letts as her dad, Lucas Hedges as her first boyfriend and Lois Smith as the school's mother superior. Lady Bird's pink hair, repurposed prom dresses and self-proclaimed identity as living on the "wrong side of the tracks" may SCREAM homage to "Pretty in Pink," but this is a resoundingly modern, assuredly female-voiced comedy that portends more great things to come from Gerwig behind the camera."
Amy Rowe, New York Daily News: "Ronan and Tony winner Metcalf are the obvious scene stealers, but the entire cast is excellent. Tracy Letts is all heart as out-of-work dad Larry, whose sympathetic parenting style balances out his wife's authoritativeness. Lucas Hedges lends an emotional wallop as Lady Bird's first boyfriend, Danny. Music, in particular, helps nail the story's 2002-2003 setting. Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River" blasts on the stereo during a house party. In the car, Lady Bird tells her dad that Alanis Morissette wrote "Ironic" in just a few minutes, to which he replies, "I believe it." And Gerwig manages to evoke genuine feeling with a Dave Matthews Band motif, eschewing the "too cool" attitude and embracing the song "Crash into Me" as wholly meaningful."
Photo Credit: Official LADY BIRD Trailer