Movie Review: Lady Bird

Emily Hahn

In search for a perfect movie for Veteran’s Day weekend, I perused the Rotten Tomatoes’ website, not to find a war movie to honor our veterans, but to unearth a light-hearted, critically acclaimed film my entire family could enjoy. Surprisingly, there were four movies currently playing in theaters that received a “perfect” 100% rating: Jane, Faces Places, Ittefaq, and Lady Bird.


We eliminated Jane and Faces Places from consideration because they are both documentaries. Ittefaq is an Indian film, which was rejected by our family, not because it had subtitles, but because it garnered a 100% rating from only 5 critical reviews. Lady Bird, on the other hand, received universal acclaim from 115 critics. In addition, the semiautobiographical story written by Greta Gerwig, is about a high school girl, which piqued my interest. With curious anticipation, we decided to catch the film following dinner in Manhattan, as it was not playing in Long Island.


Spoiler alert: Nothing happens in the movie. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but the plot moves very slowly, and I had difficult time trying to stay awake, especially after a large meal. The movie follows the mundane life of a dissatisfied, but hopeful, college senior as she navigates the tiny hurdles confronting her existence. She hates everything about her life, and aggressively tries to make changes. She has given herself the regal name “Lady Bird” to distance herself from her real name and identity. Lady Bird searches for new friends and longs for a wealthier lifestyle. She dreams of going to college in New York City, far away from her Catholic high school, passive aggressive mother, and her ordinary life in suburban Sacramento. Ultimately, in this coming of age film, she learns that being new and different is not always better, and begins to appreciate what she already has. The movie is far from earth shattering.


When 100% of critics liked this movie, and I didn’t, the obvious conclusion is that there is something wrong with me, not the movie. In my defense, I do not believe I am part of the target audience. At the packed theater, I did not see a single teenager in the audience. The movie may be more suited for someone in the same age group as the writer, who happens to be 34 years old. The movie takes place in 2002, and it may serve as nostalgia for her generation that longs for the days of flip phones and slow Internet connection.


The term stranger than fiction does not apply to Lady Bird. Aside from several odd events, such as the main character jumping out of her car while arguing with her mother, most of the story is too mundane to be fiction. The film must be a biographical account, as no sane writer would invent this plotline and believe it to be interesting. Only the person who experienced these events could find it remarkable. I don’t get it.