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  WINDY CITY TIMES

FILM REVIEW Lady Bird
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2017-11-15

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Director: Greta Gerwig. Starring: Saoirse Ronana, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts

Time: 93 minutes. Release Date: Nov. 10

The new movie Lady Bird follows the adventures of a teenager living in Sacramento in 2002. Saoirse Ronan plays the young woman named Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson. Some may know Ronan from the film Brooklyn and Broadway's The Crucible. The camera just loves her from the minute she appears, and she grows up before our very eyes, flawed and real.

This is actress Greta Gerwig's directorial debut. She also wrote the script that is loosely based on her life. Her sense of humor translates onto the screen even though she is behind the scenes. Gerwig grabs our attention from the first scene in a car and doesn't let go until the end. She is obviously an actor's director and just the right people lined up to work with her.

There are many Chicago theater actors cast in the production and their proficient acting skills work well with the ensemble. Steppenwolf's Tracy Letts and Laurie Metcalf play Lady Bird's parents, the struggling McPhersons, with grounded, experienced vigor. Another Steppenwold standout is Lois Smith, as Sister Sarah Joan. It could have been a throwaway part but instead shows that nuns can have a sense of humor about themselves and the 87-year-old is truly endearing.

Classrooms should watch the theater audition scenes alone. It's like Gergwig went through our yearbooks and knew how to convey life in that circle of budding artists.

Similar to the '90s television show My So-Called Life, this female protagonist battles high school and relationships with a unique voice.

I spotted Timothee Chalamet from the recent gay film Call Me By Your Name, as Bird's boyfriend. Hopefully, he was nicer to Madonna's daughter Lourdes when he dated her in real life. He's magnetic as usual portraying a complex, unlikeable character.

There is some gay content but that would lead to a spoiler, but rest assured there is a lot of diversity throughout. Changing the name you were born with, or the one that makes you feel uncomfortable, is a page right out of the LGBT handbook.

Lady Bird excels in resonating with the audience. People were exclaiming out loud and reacting to all of the subtle humor at the screening I attended. It's a movie that encourages conversations and word of mouth. The only reason to watch it at home alone is to catch all the jokes that are covered up by the constant laughter the writing invokes. This is what a crowd pleaser looks like, folks, and other films should take note. During awards season Lady Bird should be flying high.


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