Monday, November 6, 2017

Lady Bird

If you want an antidote to Harvey Weinstein then see Lady Bird. It ain’t Pulp Fiction. Scripted and directed by Greta Gerwig of Frances Ha fame, the movie exists in an alternate universe. Lady Bird is not exactly It’s a Wonderful Life but it smacks of the Frank Capra, Preston Sturges kind of world where pain and sadness are tempered with a genial humor, and good triumphs. Gerwig’s script, which is the coming of age story, of a young girl attending a parochial school in Sacramento is full of clever lines and exchanges, which also recall the heyday of classic film comedy. “The  only good thing about 2012 is it’s a palindrome,” Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) begins. When she half jokingly threatens her boyfriend saying, “I’ll kill your family,” he replies “My father has cancer so God is doing it for us.” “Are you and Mom going get a divorce,” Lady Bird asks her father.” “Hell no, we can’t afford it,” is the response. And there are other little gems amongst them “money is not like a report card,” and “Sacramento is the Midwest of California.” While the movie may be pasteurized, it’s not sanitized.  Lady Bird whose real name is Christine is in the process of inventing herself. She’s aspirational and looking for better things—something which is a source of conflict for her hardworking mother who feels her daughter has been given enough. But she’s not free. Her first sexual experience is bittersweet and ends in an argument. There’s one particularly hilarious scene where Gerwig’s character plasters a “Just Married” sign on the back of the car owned by one of the nuns from her school. Yet later wandering into a church in a strange new city, after a night of heavy drinking, one wonders if tying the knot with Jesus doesn’t begin to seem like an enviable thing.

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