International Women’s Day | Praising Lady Bird, a Film About Women By Women

Last month saw the release of the highly anticipated Lady Bird, which became the highest rated film ever on Rotten Tomatoes at the end of 2017. The film, produced by indie favourite A24, is a huge landmark for women in film as it is the directorial debut of the fantastic Greta Gerwig; it landed leading actor Saoirse Ronan over twenty award nominations at the age of 23; and is for many, a groundbreaking representation of young womanhood and relationships. If you haven’t yet seen this film, here are some reasons as to why should treat yourself to a trip to the cinema this International Women’s Day.

For one, Lady Bird is a coming-of-age story for girls that hasn’t really been told before, or at least to this degree of popularity. It moves away from the cliched focus on boys, girl fights and ugly duckling narratives and instead focuses on female relationships and finding yourself. Perhaps the most poignant plot point of Lady Bird for a lot of its women viewers, is the realtionship between Lady Bird and her mother (Laurie Metcalfe). Many will groan with understanding at every well-intentioned but passive aggressive remark, feel guilty with the memory of every shitty thing you said in anger, but nevertheless accept how much we can be like our mother, try as you might not to be. Lady Bird’s relationship with her friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein) also serves as a refreshing depiction of girl friendships as they worry about stuff like college, their families, (and yes, boys, cos they seem very important at that age) but also spend their free school period talking about masturbating in the bath. It’s all very real. No Julius Caesar style coups against the popular girls, and no lead characters pretending to have sex with every guy in school in exchange for gift cards.

Another thing that’s so great about Lady Bird is how it captures the yearning to find and prove yourself at school-leaving age, when you have absolutely no idea where you’re going or how you’re even going to get there. It also shows how it feels to be on the cusp of adulthood but still very much a child and the constant pull between the two (excellently presented by a scene at a college party that leaves you thinking “yeah, that was me”). Ultimately, this is a film for women about women by women that will leave many of its viewers with a feeling of nostalgia, pride, and girl power that will go on to be a classic.

Another reason why Lady Bird is a must-see this International Women’s Day is because of the women behind it. Every Irish person already knows Saoirse Ronan is its star, but she deserves the appreciation for her role for much more than that. Her role as seventeen-year-old Lady Bird is incredible, eliciting laughs, groans and tears as we follow her on her war-path from senior year to college. At 23, Ronan’s performance earned her over twenty award nominations, including an Academy Award, and over a dozen wins, including a Golden Globe for Best Actress. Already a promising star for years, Lady Bird seems to mark the beginning of a massive career for an incredibly talented young woman.

International Women's Day (2) - Lady Bird - Headstuff.org
Saoirse Ronan and Beanie Feldstein in Lady Bird Source

The film is also a huge milestone for women in the film industry due to its writer and director, Greta Gerwig. Already known on the film scene for her quirky roles in indie films, Gerwig made her solo directorial debut to massive acclaim with Lady Bird. She earned herself several nominations such as Best Director (including an Academy Award nomination, making her the fifth woman ever), several nominations for Best Film, including a win at the Golden Globes, and a win at the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Screenplay. Already, people are expecting huge things from Gerwig and that this is just the beginning.

In the wake of the Time’s Up movement and a massive shake-up in Hollywood, it is incredible to see such a female-centric film doing so well and inspiring so many. I therefore implore you to see Lady Bird today – after all, today is all about you.

Lady Bird is in cinemas now


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