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Lady Bird

Fly away home. 

Year: 2017 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Greta Gerwig 
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts  
An image from Lady Bird

Ladybird is a clever, funny and affecting bildungsroman about a girl called Christine (Saoirse Ronan) who insists that ‘LadyBird’ is her given name (“given to me by me”) and what she must be called by. Though the film charts typical teen rituals and coming-of-age milestones as Ladybird navigates friendships, flirts with love and sorts out her college education; Greta Gerwig, in her feature debut as writer-director tells the story anything but typically. Not only does she give the narrative a joyful,forward-rushing rhythm but she creates a rich emotional world, particularly (and refreshingly so) for young women. This movie is almost a love-letter to Gerwig’s hometown of Sacramento, California, remembering her teenage dreams of getting away to the grownup sophistication of New York.

However, Ladybird’s mother, (Laurie Metcalf) a bluntly pragmatic overworked nurse, can’t nourish Ladybird’s dreams of studying in the big apple as the family worry and struggle over funding. Their mother daughter pairing of anguish and love is one which Gerwig knew all too well as, like Ladybird, she also had a passionate and controlling mother and thus it is this jagged relationship which the film centres around. Fantastic performances from both actresses make these scenes electric, as the pair flip from pleasant intimacy to blazing disagreements as Gerwig maps their inability to communicate. Poignantly, they both need each other but they will never admit it.

Ladybird is a film about teenage aspiration, the challenges of cross-generational emotional communication between parents and children and fleeing the nest, and it is well worth a watch.

Alice Saunders

Lady Bird is the 2017 solo directorial debut from Greta Gerwig, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. Choosing to go by the name ‘Lady Bird’ now, 17-year old Christine feels out of place and destined for greater things amongst her current life as a senior at a Catholic high school in Sacramento. She dreams of moving away to a new city, filled with culture, and attending a prestigious university. This ultimately strains her relationship with her mother Marion, acutely aware of the family’s existing financial struggles, who comes to consider Lady Bird as ungrateful for what she has. This relationship continues to deteriorate as Lady Bird acts out against her mother's wishes, including entering relationships with boys; abandoning her best friend for a chance at high school popularity, and applying to colleges on the other side of the country which the family are unable to afford. Lady Bird is a touching coming-of-age exploration of the conflict between aspirations and responsibility. Starring Saoirise Ronan, Timotheé Chalamet and Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird was nominated for four further Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actress (Ronan), Best Supporting Actress (Metcalf), and Best Original Screenplay.

Hannah Skillman

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Screenings of this film:

2017/2018 Summer Term (digital)
2017/2018 Summer Term (digital)
2020/2021 Autumn Term (digital)
2020/2021 Autumn Term (digital)