Lady Bird almost depicts teen angst too well

This is a film that is sure to bring back many memories, some of them painful

(Image courtesy of A24)

By: Yelin Gemma Lee

This year’s Golden Globe for best motion picture in the musical or comedy category was awarded to Lady Bird and I have some things to say about it. It’s an undeniable fact that it is quite a brilliant film, so I am not particularly upset about this win (although I think Best Picture for musical or comedy should have been given to The Greatest Showman — which made me feel emotions that I didn’t know I could feel). Along with Best Picture, the leading actress of the film Saoirse Ronan won the Golden Globe for Best Actress – Musical or Comedy, and got nominated for two other Golden Globes. So Lady Bird is, to say the least, kind of a big deal in film this year. As much as I acknowledge this . . . I think I hated it.

     While watching this movie I felt really, really old . . . and I’m fucking 21 years old. It also made me cringe maybe 57 times because of the following elements: Catholic symbolism, high school life, bad relationships with parents . . . yikes. Basically all of the things that I am never lying in my bed at 2 a.m. thinking, “Wow, I want to relive that.”

     The Catholic symbolism and references are so prominent in this movie that there is a fucking crucifix in the movie poster. Everything ties back to Catholicism in this movie. At one point, Ronan’s character is drawn back to the church after a near-death experience with alcohol poisoning, then she leaves the church and decides to call her home to make amends. This is a horrifically realistic depiction of what it’s like to grow up submerged in Catholicism, as I did, and thinking back on it made my skin crawl.

     The second-hand embarrassment, oh goodness gracious, was so real. This is a real life high school human, with all the popularity castes, the hot boys that are actually awful, heartbreaks left and right, and a chain of endless bad decisions that are never worthwhile. It made me quite uncomfortable how relatable and approachable this movie was.

     Although these are the reasons why I hated this movie, these are also the same exact reasons why I liked this movie. It showed the true mess and the beauty of teenage adolescence — the gross reality of puberty and angst, as well as the charm of being carefree and foolish. The scene where the protagonist Lady Bird gets high in her kitchen with her friends and tries to hide it from her mother made me think of my own first experience getting stoned and giggling excessively at nothing. I didn’t know I wanted to relive that first experience again, but Lady Bird provided it. See what I mean by this movie made me feel old? The acting in this movie was no short of brilliant, especially of Saoirse Ronan who played the role of bratty, dreamy teenager so well. Wow, did I ever hate-love that character.

     In short, this movie is worth watching so long as you’re OK with an ending that will leave you saying, “Wait what? That’s it?” and the cringe-worthy feelings of realizing “wow . . . that’s a teenager alright.” It shows the truth of a life that I know too well: being from a poor family in a small Catholic town and feeling like an outcast — and feeling like if you don’t belong, you will never make it in this world. On some level I believe this movie resonated with the general public and touched each individual in a unique way, and that makes my original hatred for this movie a little bit more like love.