Genre- Comedy/ Drama
Reviewed By- Veronica Da Silva
Director Greta Gerwig made sure teenagers and young adults alike had something to talk about with her movie “Ladybird”. It gave the young audience an example of a real, authentic teenager, and how she struggles her way through life- or at least her senior year of high school. Gerwig let us meet Ladybird with our own two eyes on the big screen, and let us learn a few things from her mistakes; because after all, no matter what the people say on unrealistic expectations for the youth, teenagers are nowhere near perfect.
On the concept of teenagers, this film, being rated R, does have strong content. There’s alcohol use, foul language, smoking, conversations on abortion, sex talk, and a pretty obvious-yet-brief sex scene. Greta Gerwig made sure to not sugarcoat any of the teenage coming-of-age events. This movie, although fictional, does help visualize things (both good and bad) that some teens go through regularly.
Set in 2002, “Ladybird” is centered around its main character, who calls herself Ladybird (played by Saoirse Ronan). With her short pink hair, fiery personality, and witty mind, she quickly and surely made sure she’d catch the viewers attention to her story. Ladybird comes from a family that struggles financially quite a bit, and attends a Catholic School. Despite her situation(s), she makes sure she works hard towards getting into her dream college in New York. Viewers are able to tell from the very beginning that Ladybird is quite a rebellious girl, which typically leads to her going against some higher authority (whether that would be her parents, school, etc.) Ladybird is quite headstrong, and very opinionated. This variety of traits in one single girl is what helps the movie carry out a wonderful, complex character and strong message until the end of the film.
As the film carries out, viewers see the small obstacles on Ladybird’s path slowly form into larger, more intense ones, making her reevaluate her choices often. One main issue with Ladybird is her mother. Her mother is a hardworking woman, wanting nothing but the best for her children. Ladybird on the other hand, sees her as too bossy and demanding, which causes the two to bicker constantly. Her mother doesn’t believe her daughter can attend her dream school, due to money problems.
Romance also makes its way into Ladybird’s senior year, letting her feel liberated and true joy for the most part. But for the teen, nothing ever goes right for her. Boys are just another issue in her life, causing her to take a step back and figure herself out. Ladybird’s best friend, Julie, is always there to support her and make sure she’s doing alright. But along the way, viewers see Ladybird let herself focus on popularity and self success, rather than what’s really important deep in her heart: friendship. Ladybird tries her best to make it through her final year of high school with good memories. Throughout the entire movie, teenagers, including myself, can find ourselves relating to her. We all fall out of line once in a while. We all know what it’s like to be broken hearted. We all have our angsty teenage years. We’ve had struggles with friendships and family issues. Ladybird manages to find her good moments, showing the viewers it’s not the end of the world in high school. The director makes sure to perfectly capture Ladybird’s struggle, letting the actress choose her outfits she would wear in high school, while also wearing no to very minimal makeup, and so on. So much work was put into this film to make it come to life. You finish the movie, and something within you wishes it wasn’t over.
Now, I know some see a movie like this, with a protagonist such as Ladybird, with so much teenage angst, and think, “What could possibly be learned from such a teenage mess?” The more you pay attention, the more you see how much this movie affects people. People struggle every single day, whether it be with boys, family, school, jobs, etc. We reach slumps, just like Ladybird, and wonder if we’re really just alone and have no future. But theres always is something. Ladybird drags us on a very eventful journey in this indie-feel movie. Like mentioned earlier, Ladybird experiences major development, and it makes a huge emotional ride for viewers to watch her grow and learn as a person. This film delivers a cinematic masterpiece that makes viewers feel so many things at once. I caught myself crying, laughing, yelling, and, in some cases, all threat once. For someone who related a lot to the main character, I sure did learn a lot, and I feel that most young viewers will too.
Greta Gerwig showed immense creative qualities when creating this film. She found parts of herself etched into this movie, and let it come to life. The Oscar nominated movie may seem like a simple movie about a girl at a Catholic school. But it’s so much more. The character development, the story, the friendships, the hardships…everything comes together in the end, in one big masterpiece.