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(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get personal, political, and opinionated about anything and everything. In this edition: how the new film Lady Bird helped one writer salvage his relationship with his mother.)

Greta Gerwig‘s new movie, Lady Bird, opens in theaters tomorrow. It’s a stunning piece of work, beautifully felt, ambitious both in its scope and intimacy, with striking performances from Saorsie Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. Also, the film may have saved my relationship with my own mother. But we’ll get there. In a moment. Because our personal connections with the movies require context. They require as to sort through our baggage. And I have baggage to spare.

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lady bird trailer

Love hurts. Whether it’s platonic, romantic, or familial, the relationships that we build are rarely as clean or as kind as we usually see on screen. Part of what makes Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird so remarkable is her refusal to shy away from that ugliness and how, as a result, the film becomes all the more beautiful.

Lady Bird follows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) as she navigates her last year of high school. Her dissatisfaction with her life in the suburbs (she wants to go to college on the East Coast) is compounded by financial anxieties — her family may not be able to afford tuition to the colleges she really wants to attend, and she pretends they’re in a different income bracket in order to impress her new friends — as well as her romantic hopes and disappointments, and her fractious relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf).

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lady bird trailer

Greta Gerwig is passing down her mumblecore crown to Saoirse Ronan in her semi-autobiographical film, Lady Bird.

The indie darlings team up in the coming-of-age film replete with quirky shenanigans and whimsical musings on life, with Ronan starring in the Gerwig-surrogate role as a stubborn aspiring bohemian who clashes with her equally strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf).

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Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn

At 22, Saoirse Ronan has already built up a career to be envied. She’s worked with the likes of Joe Wright, Wes Anderson, and Peter Jackson, and she’s just snagged her second Oscar nomination for Brooklyn. Now for her next big-screen role, she’ll be teaming up with another hot young talent. Ronan is set to star in Lady Bird, the solo directing debut of Greta GerwigRead More »

Greta Gerwig directing

Greta Gerwig, who we just saw in the latest trailer for Mistress America, is prepping to tackle her first solo directorial gig. She previously co-directed Nights and Weekends (with Joe Swanberg, back in 2008) and has co-written films including the Swanberg-directed Hannah Takes the Stairs, Frances Ha, and the aforementioned Mistress America.

So we’re excited to see her take the directorial chair on Lady Bird, her own solo film. And with that primary duty hers, this will be a project for which Gerwig finds someone else to star. Read More »