TIFF Review: Lady Bird

Joanna Posted by Joanna at September 12, 2017 17:06:42 September 12, 2017 17:06:42

Lady Bird is a movie that I was dying to see before it screened at Telluride. I'm all in on Greta Gerwig - from Frances Ha to Mistress America to Maggie's Plan, if she's in something? I'm there. She wrote it? No question. Her directorial debut? As if I'll miss it. At LaineyGossip though, right now "we're" more interested in Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet. So when news broke that it was a surprise hit at Telluride, and had Best Picture potential outside of our own or my own Greta echo chamber (I don't think Sarah is always a fan?), we had to find out when I could see it as soon as possible at TIFF.

The problem with "working" at film festivals is sometimes life (or scheduling, or traffic, or...) works against you. It's a champagne problem, but it's still an issue. It always reminds me of a literal interpretation of one of my favourite songs from A Chorus Line: "What I Did For Love." Start lining up at 7:30am to see a movie that starts at 9am when you were up until 1 the night before because a movie you saw affected you and you couldn't "unwind"? Stay up until 3am schmoozing because YOLO? Do you. Find a way. As Tim Gunn would say, "Make it Work." For example, yesterday, I was planning to cover the Grey Goose talkback between the Disobedience stars (Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz) - a movie I am really, really fighting for and wrote about yesterday - but it was at the same time as our James Franco interview and I knew it just wasn't in the cards, even though it would have been an awesome opportunity. You just have to move on, try hard to stay professional, and do what you can (especially if you have zero chill, like me).

So I missed the first 10 minutes or so of Lady Bird. It's a 2002/2003-era story and coming-of-age movie starring Saoirse as Christine or "Lady Bird," who has dyed hair and is in her final year of Catholic school. She's fiercely herself, but is also desperate to fit in because a cute boy may or may not like her (Timothee Chalamet, Lainey's TIFF 2017 crush). As somebody who has seen both Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird,  he's even hotter in this movie as a delicious twist on a cliché high school bad boy who smokes handrolled cigarettes, hates everything, and believes cellphones are the government's way to trick us into giving away our GPS location.

While Lady Bird has no problem talking back at an abortion assembly, she has trouble sticking to her guns and staying with her true friends (Beanie Feldstein, in a Catholic uniform? Ugh, I just love her) when the cool kids (literally) come knocking to a house they think is hers. She's confident, but self-conscious about her family, and the multiple shifts her mom (Laurie Metcalf) has to work to support her in-and-out-of-depression dad (a bearded Tracy Letts). She's great with words and biting insults about her own family members or her "former" friends and dropping pretty insightful truth bombs when she feels empowered in the moment, but her grades kinda suck and it's doubtful she'll ever be able to leave the "dreaded" Sacramento she hates. In her mind, it's not even close to being as "cool" as San Francisco!!! Does that make her an ungrateful daughter? And if her parents call her out, do they have remorse? And what about the boy she loves (Lucas Hedges) who is going through his own thing and can't be there for her how she wants? Will anybody ever understand her?

I didn't care too much for Brooklyn. I mean, it's a beautiful movie, but it just felt a little too quiet for me. Don't get me wrong, I loved the performances (esp. from Canadians like Samantha Munro or Jessica Pare), but Lainey and I always (and continue to) fight over whether Brie or Saoirse "deserved" to win that year. (Lainey: Brie, also known as BEIGE.) This time around, we could actually agree on something once she sees Lady Bird. I've seen two other leading female performances that blew me away more than Saoirse this year (Annette Bening in Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, Jennifer Lawrence in mother!), but I would never balk if she became the frontrunner. This movie has so much heart, on all sides, and is so funny too... let's just say I've never loved The Tempest more than I did seeing a football coach trying to teach drama blocking. And it's my favourite Shakespeare play.

This could be the new The Kids Are All Right or Juno if it's marketed correctly. And guess which studio is planning to go big with it? Focus Features (the same as The Kids Are All Right). They inked a new deal yesterday. Seriously, this ensemble is beyond belief and the writing is superb. Lady Bird has the perfect female anti-hero and she's going through her high school rites of passage like a checklist because she thinks that's what she's supposed to do to be an adult. As she learns the hard way, life doesn't always go your way.

Also - a friend of mine and I always talk about movies from the recent past and what they get right or wrong. I.e. in Spotlight Rachel McAdams uses an old-school iPod. Cool. And wears slacks that would have probably been at the GAP at that time. In this movie, they use various milestones from 2002/2003 as an Easter egg for the viewers, to reward you for paying attention. Lady Bird's first cool party? You better believe the walk-in music is Justin Timberlake's Cry Me a River. As somebody who was in Grade Nine or Grade Ten at the time, that song was a jam. The Britney gossip made it even better. So of COURSE it would be playing at a cool party, and of course, the guy who is too cool for school, played by Timothee, would be by the pool pretending he doesn't love it. And you would have to choose to either talk to him and agree with him, or (figuratively) enjoy the song. One of the many reasons this movie is so, so great.


Photos:
Rich Fury/ Getty Images

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