The 463rd film I have seen in theaters…
I think I’ve just seen the best film of 2017
2002. Christine “Lady Bird” McPhearson is starting her senior year of Catholic High School in Sacramento. She longs to leave the city, and her working class family, behind for the perceived majesty of the East Coast and New York. This is the story of her last year at home, as she discovers herself. She dates boys, fights with her mother, re-evaluates her friends, and goes through the same teenage dramas, and comedies, which we all faced.
Saoirse Ronan has another Oscar Nomination coming to her for her portrayal of Lady Bird. The writing for her, and all of the characters, is phenomenal. Ronan elevates it the way a good actor should. Instead of showing you what is going on in Lady Bird’s life she makes you feel it. Only 23 and a damn fine performer.
Laurie Metcalf also has an Oscar nomination coming, I think. She plays Lady Bird’s mom. We get the expected mother/daughter battling, but also incredible affection. This is a woman going through a tough time in her life, trying to make ends meet and facing tremendous shame that they are barely scraping by while others in the city are doing so well. This was powerful stuff.
Tracy Letts, an excellent actor and writer plays Larry, Lady Bird’s dad. This is another powerful performance, for the simplicity and calmness he brings to it. Despite his demeanor, this is a man struggling with terrible depression and feelings of inadequacy. Letts gives us a glimpse into the life of this man and we are all the better for it.
Lucas Hedges is Danny, Lady Bird’s first boyfriend in the film. Like Lady Bird, he is also going on a personal voyage to discover himself. He turns in some outstanding acting here.
My lord, Timothee Chalamet has ressurected the douchey early 2000’s teen in a manner that must be seen to be believed. This took me back.
Beanie Feldstein is Lady Bird’s best friend Julie. She was fantastic. She has that way of completely dominating a scene with a giggle or a glance. There is talent there, excellence.
Stephen Henderson steals scenes as Father Leviatch, the drama teacher. Of all the supporting characters, his is the one I wanted to learn more about. A whole movie could be made of this supporting character.
Lois Smith, an actress who has an incredible background on film and stage, is Sister Sarah Joan. She is not the stern nun often featured on film, but a funny supporting nun- far closer to the reality of these women. Her performance was a delight.
I was not kidding at the top of this review. This may very well be the best film of 2017. The writing and direction of Greta Gerwig was phenomenal. Every character, through the power of this script was developed beautifully. The basic plot of the film is a “coming of age” tale. Where it excels is in how it tells this story, rather than the story itself.
The actors, most of whom have reputations as excellent stage performers, brought it up to another level. This was the best acted film of the year. Going through my glimpses at the actors, it is easy to read this for their dramatic turns. What I cannot overstate is the for all of the heart wrenching drama, there is an equal amount of laughter. These people are genuinely funny.
The best thing I can say about this is how fresh it felt. From the very beginning this movie had a voice. It may be cliched, but this film took us on a journey, made us feel the film rather than view it. This is why I love movies. Go see it. 10/10