Movie: Lady Bird
My Rating: 3 stars
I have pretty mixed feelings about this movie. On one hand, it is a genuinely authentic-feeling story about what it feels like to be a teenager—covering desires, relationships, aspirations. But, on the other, it also feels fairly unremarkable. It’s a mystery how the members of the Academy end up selecting which specific movies they want to single out for their awards. And, when I see movies like this make it into the final cut, it starts to seem more than likely that there are some fishy, backroom deals, or political bargaining going on. Because, this movie is perfectly fine, but it didn’t stand out to me more than any other high school, coming-of-age story I’ve seen.
I don’t want to sound like I’m being too critical of this movie. I liked it well enough. And, it definitely stirred up some pretty complex feelings and memories from back when I was a teen. Those are some of the most difficult years in a person’s life. It’s a time full of trying to conform while your body and life are going through some very dramatic changes. Teens can be ruthless rule-enforcers—all at a time when most things that are happening are beyond one’s control. It’s a prison. And, the situation is so perverse. But of course, there are also some bad surprises waiting for people who thought high school was a breeze. Eighteen isn’t an age in which one would want to stop emotionally developing. And, kids who are too popular and accepted are in serious danger of stunting their emotional growth and becoming like one of those sad creeps hanging around school after they’ve graduated. No one wants that. These are obviously fertile grounds for screenwriters to till. But most people get to experience it for themselves. So, movies that explore some of these basic themes don’t feel like they’re doing anything very noteworthy.
I feel like I should have liked this movie more than I did because everyone else seemed to be raving about it around Oscar season. But, I suspect that maybe some of that enthusiasm might have been secondary. Perhaps a few of those critics were going bananas for this movie because they felt the same way I did. Or, maybe I just missed something. Who knows? Part of me says you might want to see this movie just so you’ll know what everyone else has been talking about. But, the other part of me says “You’re a busy lady. You don’t have to waste your limited leisure time doing things you don’t want to do.”