My job is to keep you realistic.
I think everybody thinks that’s their job.
I’ve always been of the opinion that Greta Gerwig was the one doing the heavy lifting in the creative partnership with Noah Baumbach. The movies that the two co-write are always brilliant, but when Baumbach goes off on his own to write without her, I find that there’s just a kind of preachiness that comes into his work. In 2016, Gerwig gave her best dramatic performance in a movie that didn’t involve Baumbach at all, 20th Century Women, and now, with Lady Bird, she’s cemented what I always suspected: she most certainly doesn’t need Baumbach in the way he needs her. Lady Bird is a really sharply written movie; the characters are all very vivid and feel very real while the script also elevates the dialogue to a very witty level. The cast is also really stupendous as well. Saiorse Ronan, an actress I’d never really found as impressive as a lot of people, really got on my radar with Brooklyn and she’s equally great here in a very different role; she’s definitely come into her own as a really nuanced performer that is able to really hold a movie together. Laurie Metcalf is a real revelation as Lady Bird’s mother in a real whiplash of a performance. Beanie Feldstein gives a star-making supporting performance as Lady Bird’s best friend; it’s lively, vivacious and hilarious. Timothee Chalamet is pitch perfect as a super-cool poser; I saw this movie prior to learning that he’s the lead in the incredibly acclaimed Call Me By Your Name and I’m now really excited to see that movie. Lucas Hedges, Tracy Letts, Odeya Rush & Lois Smith all get off memorable performances in small roles. Lady Bird is a heck of a directorial calling card, not that Gerwig really needed a calling card, given the way she’s already proved herself as a writer and an actor. Still, add another accolade to the things she can pull off with grace and near perfection. Don’t call her a triple threat; after Lady Bird, who knows what she’ll reveal next. 4 stars.
tl;dr – a near perfect movie with a superlative cast and a brilliant screenplay, Lady Bird is the rare movie that simply fires on all cylinders; hilarious, touching and compelling all in one. 4 stars.