Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Lady Bird (2017): Review

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I decided to go see Lady Bird because I  was won over by the trailers and being told that Lady Bird is a must see, highly critically rated movie. Although the movie was good, it was not the practically perfect movie I was hoping it would be and I had difficulty rooting for or connecting with the main character.  Thinking about the movie, I cannot tell if I liked it or disliked it and that is never a good thing for me coming out of a movie because it tends to just slip away as it had no real resonance with me. It has high production value and I could tell that everyone working on the movie was putting their all into it and really cared about putting out a well done movie.  It was interesting but nothing that was life changing.

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Lady Bird is a movie that following Catherine McPherson, played by Saoirse Ronan, who has renamed herself Lady Bird, as she goes through her senior year of high school at a Catholic school in Sacramento California. She has difficulty with her relationships with her mother Marion, played by Laurie Metcalf, and the differences the two want for Lady Bird's future. Lady Bird goes through this year in her life trying to make the future she want happen while interacting with different people at school.  Also staring Beanie Feldstein as Julie, Lady Bird's best friend; Lois as Sister Sarah Joan; Jack McDorman as teacher Mr. Bruno; Lucas Hedges as Danny; Timothee Chalamet as Kyle; Tracy Letts as Lady Bird's father Larry; and Stephen Henderson as Father Leviatch.

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There was a very high production value in this movie, not in the sense that it seemed like a lot of money was spent on sets or CGI, but that everyone working on the movie appeared to care what they were doing and that a lot of thought and effort was put into each decision and how everything was shot, acted, and put together as a film.  Because of this there, were some things that I struggles with and made it hard for me to connect with the movie. The main thing that I struggled with is that Lady Bird is just unlikable as a person.  She made choices that were selfish and her motivation was inconsistent and changes without the movie showing why she was doing this thing that is different from why she did something earlier.  There were times where I would start to be on her side or she was starting to pull me in but then things would change and then I would be nope, she's unlikable as a person.
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The way that the movie was put together made it difficult for me to connect to what was going on.  Overall, the movie was told in very short little snippets and then would jump to something else, sometimes it would be just a short jump in time while at others it would appear to be weeks. The times that I liked the movie the best is where the scene was longer and there was time for true development of relationships between the characters or for me to understand their processes. I want to see the story of the movie and not just show the start and end of something, I like to have time to see the character grow/ change/ develop/ understand their motivation, anything that would have me connect to the character or what they are going through or at least care.  I liked many of the supporting characters and think that this movie was casted phenomenally but all of the supporting characters, besides the mother and maybe Julie or the Father/Sister were very one dimensional. This may be because the movie showed these characters based on how Lady Bird saw them. Although there was some background of the motivation of some of the characters there wasn't any development for any of them. There were moments where the focus was on the supporting characters that were fantastic and pulled me in but then it would quickly jump back to focusing on Lady Bird.

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I can tell why this movie was given good reviews but do not think it is a movie for everyone. I may be a bit more judgmental about this movie because I relate to the enrolment in which the story is set.  Lady Bird is in the graduating class of 2003 and she is attending Catholic school. I graduated a year before that and also went to a Catholic School so can connect to the world in which the movie is set. I am not from California but I was a teen of the early 2000s in a Catholic school. Due to this I felt that there were some details that took me out of it, the movie showed that a lot of thought was spent on the detail of the movie and for a film that showed that nuns would check the skirt length of the girls, Lady Bird would not have been allowed to have that unnatural dyed red hair color.   It also bugged me that she always looked dirty especially her hair, I also think that she would have had chipped nail polish. I did really like Sister Sarah Joan and Father Leviatch, they were just fantastic characters.

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Overall, I understand why this movie received good reviews but it for me the hardest thing to get past is that the main character was unlikable. For a movie where they whole focus is on the main character and their relationships with others, it is not necessary to like the main character but the focus of the movie was following and getting drawn into her movie so you can understand her choices and the struggles she has to deal with to become who she is at the end of the movie.  If Lady Bird was likable or endearing I would have liked the movie much better. I could have even worked if I disliked her, but the tone of the movie would have needed to be different as it was presented as I should be connecting with her. I would have liked the focused to be on someone else or move split. It if was more half an half Lady Bird and her mother or her best friend Julie or even Danny it wouldn't have mattered as much that she was unlikable. The characters I liked best were given struggles that would have been very interesting to know more about or to see their journey so this movie left me feeling unsatisfied about wanting more about the supporting characters; wishing that I liked or hated Lady Bird more; or that I was able to watch the story happen not see it in short bits that jumped around.

My Rating: 2+

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