With its characters exuding teenage angst and wit, Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird graced theaters on Nov. 3. The coming-of-age tale follows the rebellious Christine or “Lady Bird” as she stumbles her way through her final year of high school — vying to flee her supposedly smothering parents’ nest.
Academy Award-nominated actress Saoirse Ronan stars as Christine, a senior attending a Catholic High School who yearns for a unique identity. Throughout the film, the protagonist strives to embody an individualistic sense of self independent of the one derived from her family. “Lady Bird” aims to abandon her dreary hometown of Sacramento in hopes of experiencing all life has to offer — from the dangerous to the heartbreaking aspects of it.
Lady Bird is not necessarily a unique story, considering the countless amount of films similar to it in the coming-of-age genre. However, Gerwig spins an ordinary tale into a unique take on achieving independence. Like most ambitious teenagers, “Lady Bird” craves independence early on in her life — even going as far as to grant herself a nickname in order to deviate from her dependent life. She dreams of rushing off to New York immediately following graduation in order to surround herself with culture and, more solemnly, cut ties with her allegedly smothering parents.
Instead of delivering a message that urges teenagers to seek independence, Gerwig reminds the audience of the importance of an individual’s roots. In “Lady Bird’s” case, her roots grow out of her hometown. Sacramento is where Christine grew under the roof of her well-intentioned and hard-working mother; Sacramento is where the protagonist experienced her first heartbreak; Sacramento is where she met her only dear friend.
While Christine initially dismisses Sacramento as “the midwest of California”, it is evident she possesses an underlying love for it. It symbolizes her growth as a young woman — the backdrop of her journey as “Lady Bird”. Despite desperately wanting to rid of her connection to her hometown, Christine ultimately thinks fondly of her life spent there and its act of paving her path to independence.