What’s So Great About Lady Bird | Video Essay

Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird,
has been attracting all kinds of praise, accolades and hype. At one point on Rotten Tomatoes, it broke
Toy Story 2’s record for the most “fresh” reviews ever. It had one of the best indie box office openings
of the year and took home top Golden Globes. A.O. Scott of The New York Times called the
film “perfect.” So what is all the hype about? What’s so great about Lady Bird? Before we go on, we want to tell you a little
bit about this video’s sponsor — Skillshare, which is a really great online learning community. They’ve got classes on everything we love, video production, writing, photography. Only in January you can get three months premium
access to all of their classes for just $0.99 total. You can get the deal through our link in the
description below. Now back to Lady Bird. First a quick look at the story. Fiercely independent teen Christine McPherson
has christened herself “Lady Bird.” “That’s your given name?” “Yeah.” “Why is it in quotes?” “I gave it to myself. It’s given to me, by me.” She itches to escape Sacramento and her all-girls
Catholic school for a place where she can be more herself. “I want to go where culture is, like New York.” “How in the world did I raise such a snob?” “Or at least Connecticut, or New Hampshire,
where writers live in the woods.” “You couldn’t get into those schools anyway.” We watch her battle with her mother, test
out different friends and boyfriends, go to prom and try to figure out who she is. “One pack of Camel Lights. A scratcher. And a Playgirl.” “ID?” “It’s my birthday today.” One of the most powerful things about this
film is its thesis — that love is really attention. When reading Lady Bird’s college essay,
the principal of her school compliments how clearly Lady Bird’s love for Sacramento
comes through in her attention to detail. She only realizes how much she does love her
hometown after she leaves. Everything else we see in this story is also
informed by this poignant observation that love is a form
of attention, which isn’t always easy or pleasant. Lady Bird’s mother Marion pays nonstop attention
to her, and it can feel overbearing, judgmental, or
burdensome — but it is how she loves her daughter. When Lady Bird ditches her best friend Julie
for a rich, popular girl who can help her get close to a new crush, the betrayal is again about attention. If we take our attention away from someone,
we are essentially taking our love away. So more than anything — in both its form
and its content, its style and its story — Lady Bird’s message is to value what surrounds
you, to truly sweat the details of your life. The film itself is the result of great attention
paid by its writer-director, Gerwig. It’s a period piece of sorts — the “period”
being the not-so-distant year of 2002. To capture this sense of recent cultural history,
Gerwig and her DP Sam Levy aimed to give the film the visual quality
of a memory. It was shot on digital, but they worked to
emulate the look of Xerox copies and early 2000s yearbook photos — images not overtly nostalgic, but that feel
at a remove. Inspired by Sacramento’s rivers, they incorporated
blues into the color palette, and the blues are paired with pastels to recall
paintings of everyday objects by Northern California’s Wayne Thiebaud. And then there are the “period” details
in the costumes and soundtrack to remind viewers of the early 2000s at every
turn — from the secondhand Doc Marten Mary Janes
and puka shell necklaces, to key events in the Iraq war playing out
on the TV, to Lady Bird’s defiant admission that she
does really like Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash Into Me,” no matter how uncool the song may have been. “Crash…into me.” Lady Bird is a classic coming-of-age tale,
capturing the universality of the teen experience and its sometimes comedic obstacles. “I just wanted it to be special.” “Why? You’re going to have so much un-special sex
in your life.” “[Screams]” Think Stand by Me, Dazed and Confused, Mean
Girls, Superbad or Moonlight. Yet Lady Bird avoids clichés in a well-trodden
territory by giving us really specific characters and
moments, like the football coach trying to direct the
school play. And it finds its originality by changing something
key in the structure of the coming of age tale. We watch the story unfold from two sides — from the perspective of the teen and from
the perspective of a parent learning to let go. “If you’re tired we can sit down.” “I’m not tired.” “You were dragging your feet.” “You’re so infuriating.” “Please stop yelling .” “I’m not yelling.” “Oh, it’s perfect!” “Honey, do you love it?” The result is a mother-daughter love story
between Lady Bird and Marion. What’s most compelling about this pair is
how antagonistic their relationship might look from the outside, yet how bonded and attentive they are to each
other. “Does mom hate me?” “You both have such strong personalities.” Their relationship is what Gerwig is saying
love looks like: it’s not very pretty or perfect, but it
perseveres. Gerwig has said that Lady Bird is not autobiographical, but she sets the story in familiar territory. She grew up in suburban Sacramento, attended
Catholic high school, and moved to New York City. One of her major inspirations in writing about
Sacramento was the writing of Northern Californian Joan
Didion, specifically, the 2003 essay collection “Where
I Was From.” Gerwig describes her discovery of Didion’s
work as “spiritually seismic… as shattering as if I’d grown up in Dublin
and suddenly read James Joyce.” Gerwig’s gift to the place that formed her
is this intimate portrait of “the Midwest of California,” as Lady Bird
calls Sacramento. “When I started writing the movie with the
intention to make something about what home means and what family means and how it doesn’t really come into focus
until you’re leaving. Sacramento is where I grew up, so I felt like
it had not been given its proper due in cinema.” Finally, much of the story’s greatness comes
down to the character of Lady Bird herself. She’s larger-than-life in her brave self-assurance
and determination to be herself, whoever that is. She’s kind of a badass. “…and not expect everybody to do every — ah!” Lady Bird represents how a lot of misfits
or confused teens might have felt in high school, even if we didn’t all act on our impulses
in the way she does. And she reassures us that everything will
turn out alright in the end. Along with its many gifts, Lady Bird may resonate
with viewers even more due to the context of its release. It comes at a time when women are openly challenging
the kinds of male stories that typically dominate the screen. And in this politically contentious era, it’s refreshing for so many people to agree
on the quality of a film that’s not only written, directed by and
starring a woman, but also about a female character like Lady
Bird who forges her own path and makes mistakes along the way. Lady Bird’s positive impact will live on
— sending a message to young women that it’s okay to not have everything figured
out — even after you become an adult. “Yeah, well, you know your mom’s tits? They’re totally fake!” “She made one bad decision at 19!” “Two bad decisions!” Hi guys, this is Susannah. We at ScreenPrism are all about life-long
learning. We’re always trying to improve our knowledge
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cinematography, how to make your film look like a movie, editing on Premiere — they can even teach
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design, photography, writing. These are some big, distinguished teachers
coming to you through your computer screen. And if you sign up this January, you can get three months premium access to
all classes for just $0.99. That’s $0.99 total. So if you want to take your work or your art
to the next level, try Skillshare. Click the link in our description below, head
over to Skillshare.com and start filling your brains with the knowledge
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100 thoughts on “What’s So Great About Lady Bird | Video Essay

  1. I'm sorry but Lady Bird as a whole is a pretty average teenage girl coming of age story. It's beyond me why it has gotten the attention is has. I know I may be alone in this, but I kinda feel like it needs to be said. But then I feel that's an over all issue with a lot movies these days saying there amazing or ground breaking when there truthfully just average. I know to someone out there or a lot of someones this may be their favorite movie, that's great. But please don't over hype it as something new and different because it isn't.

  2. You know what's annoying? Paying to NOT see fucking ads- and then having to "fast forward" through an AD. Sooo annoying.

  3. I was stoked for this movie with all the hype on it, and even though it wasn’t bad, I really didn’t see anything in this movie that felt memorable tbh, just a typical coming of age story, maybe just not cringe and cheesy like most.

  4. Lmao I saw this movie with by dad at the cinemas and I was thinking wow such character growth and when I turned for my dads approval he said it wasn’t valid cause she went to a college party and got drunk

  5. Great job as always ??Ever thought of analysing The Diary of a Teenage Girl ? That would be sooo interesting

  6. I think the reason that alot of people dislike this film is that they simply can not relate to it whether that is becase of race, age or class. If you dont have similar experince to the protagnist the story to you is bland and unoriginal. Lady bird requries you to bring your own past experince into the movie to recive any meaning from it. That is specifically what makes this movie amazing to some and not so good to others. I think the comments under this video is just a reflection of that phenomenon.

  7. I love the movie but I saw completely different things in it and I found it very pessimistic and sad but still very powerful. But I think a great and well written movie lets the viewer put much of himself into it.

  8. Honestly the only reason I have watched this amazing movie is because of Timothee Chalamet after watching the video essay about ‘Call My By Your Name’ and watching the movie. But once I gave this movie a chance, I honestly fell in love with its comedic moments and its intense serious moments.

  9. I've never had such high expectations for a movie and hated it this much…..ladybird had me and my friend laughing out loud and yelling in frustration at the screen…..im dumbfounded why people like that movie at all tbh

  10. Factual correction: Lady Bird's Catholic school is co-ed, not girls-only. Remember the gay boyfriend? He's her classmate. There's a prom and everything.

  11. The story is great bc Soarise Ronan gave a real, honest and raw performance. She captured the essence of the character perfectly and made it feel as though you were watching something you had been through even if you’re story is completely different to hers.

  12. Nothing was great about it. This movie was booooooorrrriiiinggg, characters sucked. "Boohooo, I am a teenager!" They needed to have a female director for the "Me Too" oscar year, that's about it.

  13. Even though it used the "trying to fit in with popular kids" cliche, the film pulls it off by deconstructing that trope. The popular kids in Lady Bird don't feel like caricatures and they're certainly not horrible people. I think that this movie did draw on some common themes of teen films, but it used them to tell a story that was much more nuanced.

  14. And what unfortunately still comes as a shattering realization to some men that they can relate to the life of a woman onscreen because she is also a human being not much different from themselves! GASP

  15. I thought "Lady Bird" was the best film released in 2017. It was a coming of age story & there have been many films with similar themes, but I do not believe that diminished the film in any way. That it told a story with a familiar theme, but told it in a way that was fresh & unique gives the film it's strength & it's importance. The story it tells is a simple one on its surface, but just beneath that surface are multiple stories that are not si simple & stories that have not been told before. They are woven together so expertly & movingly that you can overlook the fact that telling them in the fabric of the film could not have been easy, certainly not as easy as its writer/director made it seem. The elements that pushed this expertly told story to real greatness we're it's casting & acting. Ma. Ronan was wonderful & completely believable & proved once again that she is the most versatile & maybe the very best young actress at work today. As her mother, Laurie Metcalf did not hit a false note. Every word, gesture, reaction & even her moments of silence were so real that it made the story even more involving. Tracy Letts' role was small, but his performance proved the old adage about there being no small roles. Every performance was excellent & the casting was so expertly done that it was a story about the characters. not actors portraying characters. The film has stayed with me more than others. I thought it was wonderful!

  16. You know when you're an adult if you relate to adults more than the kids/teens in the movies. My heart ached for Lady Bird's mom. She was trying so hard to do everything for her daughter, yet Lady Bird was so ungrateful. Mom was clearly overwhelmed with double shifts and chores in the house, and then she comes home to find all towels wet, or her daughter getting suspended, or her daughter being secretive about college application. The movies was so real and so heart breaking. It also cemented my decision to never become a mother. I would love my children, but there's no guarantee that I would like them, too.

  17. Just watched this movie for free on Amazon prime and the movie was a giant let down for me. The main character felt flat and lacked character development in my own opinion. How did she come up with the name lady bird. Why is she a ladybird. She was angsty but said the dumbest most awkward shit. There was never any romantic feelings when she was with her boyfriends. Why did her friend have an out of character fit of jealousy when the whole movie before the friend showed no signs that she would be the jealous type. Why is the brother Spanish was he adopted, abandoned different father, different mother. The main protagonist wanted to go to ny for college but by the end of the movie the only thing she did that we saw was her drink and puke. Which was nothing new compared to the rest of the movie. So why then all of a sudden she had a full life changing moment with no build up or reasoning other than I drank and got sick. But she smoked and drank and stole before she left. I didn't hate the movie but there were so many plot points that just got dropped and so many characters that felt flat due to lack of development

  18. I think it was a great movie because there is alot of scenes and situations that many have been through or are going through, so everyone can relate to this movie

  19. I thought this movie was nothing BUT cliches – I think if you're under 25 or so you're going to find this movie fresh and relevant – it is very well acted, filmed, written etc – but anyone a little older will recognize it's plot as every teen film ever made and filmed in an art-house indie type format which was so many movies in the 90's – there is nothing very original here and I though it was kind of boring. And I LIKE those kinds of movies but this one was not a winner for me.

  20. great film. just wish it where more darker. seemed like the directer held back a bit. more black comedy and it would have been great

  21. I think lady bird is a film more to american taste. Everything is heavily influence by american culture and locations. Yes, mother-daughter relationship is universal but I can't relate. As an asian if i ever talk to my mom like that, be prepare to get smack in the face. Same goes to silver lining playbook. Not saying both of this film is bad, but it just not really relatable outside america. Florida project is more relatable than those two.

  22. What made the film so special to me was the portrayal of the mom/ daughter relationship. Helps you remember that love doesn't look the same for everyone and that's really important. People hold grudges with loved ones for the stupidest things for years. But we see here that most of that doesn't matter and that we still love them.

    I understand if you didn't click with this movie but I find that most of the complaints that people have with the movie are superficial.

  23. this movie made me sob so hard when I first saw it because Ladybirds relationship with her mom is alot like mine
    like we literally had the argument of "I wanna take french" "but you'll actually use Spanish and french is dumb" while we were waiting for the movie to start

  24. Ngl the mom was abusive..especially with the degrading comments,saying she'll never make it into a good school,also when Lady Bird was going to new York and her stay at new york her mother never talked to her at all, causing Lady Bird to go into a breakdown… so yeah thats not really love imo

  25. I watched it with my mom and she didn't like it because "nothing happens in it" and somehow it makes sense, like it's just life, life is all that happens

  26. Everyone should know this. One of the most riveting moments in Lady Bird, the whole chapter about her boyfriend being in the closet gay, Is a copywrite infringement rip off from the movie "Doing Time On Maple Drive" starring none other than a young Jim Carrey. And in that movie, unlike Lady Bird, one central idea is introduced, developed, molded and shaped and explored until the unforgettable climax. Lady Bird can't hold a flame to "Doing Time On Maple Drive." The central theme of Lady Bird is the relationship between Mom and Daughter. However. Appropriate to a 21st Century delivery, it is sporadic, and suffers from a lack of synthesis and cohesion. Once again. Look it up. "Doing Time On Maple Drive." She totally ripped that entire movie off in a little snapshot in Lady Bird.

  27. Personally I don’t think the film is very good, I think it’s a story that’s been told many times before in many different ways but the acting is pretty good as well as the cinematography and it’s different enough from others that it catches your attention. I also think that is a good film for both teenage girls and boys to relate to which is now more so than any other time before very important when it comes to ratings and how many people see the film.

  28. great video when i first saw lady bird i was swept off my feet and still everytime ive seen it since i am still amazed at the beauty and familiarity of this wonderful film, gerwig is a creative genius

  29. Pretty much my life on screen. Just changed a few people's genders and change the family to Mexican and there you go. Change Lady Bird to Tecpaocelotl (Flint Jaguar). Change New York to Orange County.

  30. I cried so much during this movie because it hit a specific thing in my life, the relationship with my mom. It’s a beautiful movie I wish Greta had won an oscar for this

  31. Im ngl I really didnt think this film was special. I was expecting a masterpiece and I think this for me is like a cliche film trying its best not to be. There wasnt much story going on I dont think, and her relationship with her parents could have been developed further, for example her Dad battling depression. Also it would have been cool for her new lifestyle at the ens to be developed and see how see changed. Maybe I didnt like it because I couldnt relate to it and it wasnt nostalgic for me.

  32. SPOILER ALERT: I finally watched this film. I enjoyed it immensely, although I couldn't really understand why the mother was so distraught with Ladybird's waitlisting then acceptance and moving away. Apart from the sadness of the daughter moving so far away, i didn't think it fit with the story arc, since Ladybird had realised how important Sacramento had become. So what if Lady applied under the fly?, any other parent would be thrilled their child was accepted. I just didn't understand why, presumably, the mother didn't speak to Lady all summer, let alone say a proper goodbye at the airport, JUST because she was moving away for college.

    Also, I had a sudden notion, once the credits were rolling and I was reflecting on the end, that the opening scene is actually the Mother and Lady driving back from New York. When I went back to watch, I decided that probably wasn't the case, since they start arguing over school and colleges etc, but I think that would have been a gorgeous call back, and would have given more sense to the '21 hr college road trip' quip.

    I've been wanting to see this film for over a year and finally got round to it. I really enjoyed it, but the more I think about these two points the more I think there were some ambiguous inconsistencies.

  33. Great video essay. You speak about it with passion, nostalgia, and appropriate admiration. I got goosebumps several times remembering the power of the unfiltered honesty present in this film- Beauty at its purest

  34. I can understand why some people didn't like it, but as someone who grew up in the suburbs, went to Catholic school for 16 years, had that exact type of relationship with my mom, and moved to the city for college, Lady Bird hit so incredibly close to home that I can't help but cry every time I watch it (and wonder if someone had secretly been following my friends & I in high school and taking notes on our every move).

    I saw it in theaters when I was home for Christmas break my senior year of college– went with my two best friends from (Catholic) high school. We walked out of the theater completely floored at how closely it matched our experiences and just how real it felt. It was honestly the most personal connection I've had with a movie to date.

  35. Nope. Still don’t get the hype. Movies like Lady Bird made me happy that I had strict parents who taught me some darn home training. White people, beat your kids.

  36. Okay but…….. her mom is kind of abusive? I don’t agree that their relationship is “what love looks like.” Their relationship is complicated, and love is definitely a component, but I just think that her mother’s constant belittling of her is genuinely harmful to ladybird and is part of what causes her to act out in ways that put her in danger. Her mother’s background as the child of an abusive alcoholic also lends some nuance to her character, and implies that her trauma influences her parenting in a negative way. Christine would probably have been a bit of a wild child no matter what, but I think her relationship with her mom had a largely negative impact, and I have several friends with emotionally abusive mothers who were shaken to their core by the film. I think that’s one of the movie’s core strengths: the unflinching, brutally honest portrayal of a relationship where two people who love each other very much are hurting each other time and time again.

  37. I love this movie, it's the first one I've seen in a long time that captures what it's like to be a teenager girl so intimately.

  38. This movie was so well made. I absolutely loved it, many well written moving scenes that brought me to tears.

  39. i rented it from redbox, me and my mom watched it and it was really good. it reminded me of my relationship with her. its a cool movie and something that would want to watch again and again. a movie that you can take away as many or little things you want. i want to move out of state when im older, my home city is really boring and bland, me and my mom don't have a classic mom and daughter relationship. we fight and we hang out and laugh. its simply just a great movie. and i love a movie i can closely relate to the protagonist. ☀️

  40. as a future film student who's gonna be using digital pretty much all the time, i'm so happy to find out this was shot in digital. it looks so fricken good

  41. This video is nothing but nitpicking trash to cater to smarmy douches who dont care about the genre and never intended to watch the movie in good faith to begin with

  42. What I liked about it is that the protagonist didn't live in a huge house or have affluent parents like so many other teen movies depict. I grew up in a similar background and found it very relatable.

  43. Ok, it may be something you wanna hear, but I liked and hated this movie. I'm being completely honest. Ladybird has a really strange life for me. I'm not that interesting person. However, Ladybird has a bad attitude, to be honest. She is never afraid of anything. I know, I know, it's one of the things that made the movie great. What I'm trying to say is that she was just too much to me. I'm sorry, but I wouldn't make friends with her. Other things were great. However, I would have loved it without ladybird drinking, having sex with a not virgin guy, also smoking. I'm sorry if it's not what you think, but I'm just expressing myself.

  44. this movie is scarily close to my life… and I'm from Sacramento. I don't go to st Francis and my family isn't religious but I cried so hard and I relate to everything. I love Sacramento though <3

  45. The Truth is that most people wont be HONEST about this Movie because PRETENDING it was GREAT is the COOL/HIP thing to do…Some Liked the Movie and others start to COPY eachother and give it GREAT reviews and it starts to SNOWBALL to the Point the Movie is Labeled GREAT…This type of Phony disingenuous crap is pathetic…We as Humans have this weird mentality that we would rather seem COOL rather than be HONEST…This Movie SUCKED…I know it…You know it…Most know it…But lets keep PRETENDING this DUMB movie was GREAT just so we think we are COOL…Humans = Weirdos

  46. I related to the fact that my relationship with my mother and that I went to a catholic school.

    I did meet a girl who seemed like a pretty mega bitch but once I got to know her…She was anything but that.

  47. I came of age around 2002, was like this, and dated women like this. That time period was filled with a lot of snobby hipster types who wanted to escape their (in hindsight, very comfortable) suburban life to become an "artist" in the big city. This is still going on now, but seemed to really peak with young people at this time period. I feel like 2000-2005ish is a ripe period that will be explored even more in the future. Something weird was going on with the 18-22 crowd. Early internet possibilities and the push to move off to college made everything feel very wide open.

  48. I thought it was terrible really boring – I just didn't get it at all – just a normal teenager, and typical teenage angst. It maybe that, it was aimed at an audience of a certain age or from a certain generation. We liked the films of the SE Hinton novels, they were fun.

  49. The relationship between Lady Bird and her mother is so perfectly captured and so relatable to so many people.
    Also, it was only through Lady Bird that I learned that "Crash Into Me" was considered uncool. Up until that I had been blissfully unaware of that.

  50. Seems like a good movie but totally can't relate. My parents would have slapped the shit out of me if I'd acted like that.

  51. Decent film but certainly not "great". Critics loved this film for the same reason they loved (the utterly pathetic) The Last Jedi. It's agenda.

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