Although this is a film that revolves around a strong mother-daughter conflict, I found Lady Bird to be an easy and lighthearted story with a powerful message. If you've seen such recent foreign films as Xavier Dolans “I Killed My Mother” (2009), “Mommy” (2014) and Ursula Meiers “Sister” (2012), which revolve around ruined family foundations, it's refreshing to see a more uplifting American indie such as Lady Bird.
Neither the mother or daughter character are damaged, but both are carrying a burden which suppresses their kind and fiery souls, causing sparks to fly in the wrong directions. The mother just wants her daughter (who has decided to call herself Lady Bird) to be "the best version of herself that she can be”, and this hurts, because whatever she is now, is not good enough, “what if this is the best version of me?”
Parents always want their children to be better, but sometimes they just want to be accepted and embraced for who they are. Could you ever trust your child to grow up by themselves?
First-time director Greta Gerwig does a good job of putting together characters that are complimentary yet individually different. The school and home lives are two separate worlds, well intertwined and feeding off one another. Perhaps some scenes were disappointing in the lead characters' naivety and the attempted realism of the conversations between the school kids - superficial desires and the need to break into the cool circle, to then learn she hardly belongs. It seems Lady Bird should have known better than to neglect her only true friend.
However, the underlying message is a powerful one, especially for those struggling to accept their circumstances. We sometimes grow to hate things that are so near to us, but hate is not the opposite of love - indifference is. Hate shows that we care, that we pay attention. Lady Bird is never indifferent and neither is her mother. The only indifference prints from the cool blunt faced kids she tries to befriend. She herself pays attention to what her mother, to Sacramento, and to her school. But sometimes the only way to realise this is to move away, to learn how much we’ve grown to love everything we thought we despised.