This was a coming-of-age film recommended to me by my sixteen-year-old sister, it is something that she is extremely passionate about; it moved her.
Christine “Ladybird” McPherson is a confused, naive know-it-all that is convinced she is entirely unique, something that many teenagers know far too well. She is self-centred, obnoxious and continuously trying to become a romanticised version of herself. Ladybird makes numerous mistakes, and it is through these mistakes which you really see the charm of this film. Throughout the film, she navigates the awkward age of eighteen, the trials and errors of living on the cusp of adulthood but never really understanding what it is like until she experiences it.
Technically speaking, it is a good film. It’s shot well, almost lovingly by Greta Gerwig and its clear to the audience that it was her own coming of age story. Certain moments hit the benchmark of gravitas in a beautifully satisfying way, a handful of incomplete letters says a lot more than any witty dialogue.
However, I couldn’t help but shake that feeling that I’ve missed something. The passion that my sister described this with, the idolisation she has for this film, is not there for me.
This is not to say this film doesn’t have its highlights. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf’s portrayal of a messy mother-daughter relationship is glorious. Various moments throughout the film show the complexity, the airport scene and last scene, in particular, are incredibly realistic and meaningful. However, what really drives the relationship is that familiar push-and-pull of Ladybird and her mother, the snippy almost mean comments moments before sincere love is a beautiful foil for the overarching theme of contradiction. It is these contradictions that allow “Ladybird” to grow throughout the film, she’s changing, and under all the pretentious blustering she has no idea who she’s going to be and what will happen.
It is a poignant gesture that my sister recommended this to me. I may not be able to experience it to such a passionate degree as her; however, I can clearly understand the sentiment of the recommendation.