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The Essence Of Adolescence

Courtesy+of+Vogue
Courtesy of Vogue

Courtesy of Vogue

Courtesy of Vogue

Barbara Lopez, Entertainment Editor

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**WARNING: Spoilers ahead**

  On November 3, 2017, 20th Century Women actress Greta Gerwig released her directorial debut, Lady Bird. Starring Saoirse Ronan as Christineor as the self-proclaimed, “Lady Bird”the film chronicles her growing and learning to adjust to school, family, and boys.  

  Based in 2002 Sacramento, California, Lady Bird attends a Catholic school where she acquires mediocre grades and hangs out with her best friend, Julie, portrayed by newcomer Beanie Feldstein. At home, Lady handles a rocky relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) and eccentric adoptive brother (Jordan Rodrigues).

  Metcalf, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, plays Marion  McPherson: a nurse trying to support her family as her husband (Tracy Letts) is in and out of a job and her son works at the local grocery store.

  Lady Bird’s love life takes some twists and turns throughout the movie. She begins by dating her fellow castmate from theatre class, Danny, played by Lucas Hedges. After her discovery that he is not actually into girls, she moves on to the mysterious, sententious Kyle, played by Timothée Chalamet.

  Kyle is not so full of surprises: he smokes hand-rolled cigarettes, plays guitar in a band, and always has his head buried in a book. In short, he is the typical hipster, living off tobacco and black coffee. Lady Bird falls for his stringy hair and bedroom eyes, but the love game does not seem to play out in her favor.

  After attempting and, as we all do, failing to impress Kyle and the rest of the “popular” crowd, she moves on with her life, applying to universities on the East Coast and leaving her past behind her.

   One scene that I feel especially touched my heart is when Danny came out of the closet to Lady Bird. On her birthday, she catches Danny and another boy kissing in the bathroom. After their breakup, he stops by at her work in an attempt to apologize.

  Lady Bird, still a bit upset, listens to Danny’s confession with open ears; he tells her how ashamed he feels for liking boysand attending a Catholic school does not help. As he breaks down in tears, she comforts and reminds him that there is absolutely nothing wrong with him.

  The scene, less than five minutes in length, is extremely important. Many of us, even with the accepting society we have today, feel trapped and lost when questioning our sexuality. Lady Bird’s support of Danny’s anguish warmed my heart and brought me to tears.

  The ending also strikes up sentiment: Lady phones her mother from New York where she attends university. She leaves a voicemail addressing her nostalgia for Sacramento, and the love she has for her mother. Their tumultuous relationship, full of bickering, name-calling, constant judgment, is mended by Lady Bird’s call. And by the dozens of letters her mother wrote her in secret, which happened to be salvaged by Lady’s father as he tucked them into her suitcase before she boarded her flight.

  Although this film may sound like the formulaic coming of age story, it is quite the opposite: there is no “happily ever after” or fake quirkiness to Lady’s character. She embodies the average teenager: lost, sexually frustrated, and simply trying to get into a decent college. And despite Gerwig’s mastery, reaffirmed by her Golden Globe for  Best Musical or Comedy Motion Picture and for her nomination for Best Screenplay of a Motion Picture, Ronan ties the film together with her impeccable performance.

  This is one of the first roles I have seen where Gerwig does not have her natural Irish accent. Along with disguising her brogue, her mannerisms and body language are spot on; every eye roll, slumped shoulder, and exasperated sigh reminds me of myself and many of my peers. She takes the character and brings her to life, which also seems to be unanimously celebrated as she took home a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture.

  Even without the critical acclaim, Lady Bird is still phenomenal. The cinematography, storyline, wardrobe, and overall development flow in perfect unison. Lady Bird as a character is also pathos-induced for I see parts of her in myself: cynicism, lovestruckness, passion, and bewilderment.  

    

  

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