Lady Bird (2017)

This film will not be for everybody, and that’s okay. If you enjoy this film, you will enjoy it passionately, you will identify with it in a way that you don’t identify with a lot of films. You will feel it is a personal look into your mind. You will feel like the memories contained within are yours. But if you don’t enjoy this film, you will despise every second of it, you will find the characters annoying and unlikeable, you will find the lack of a clear narrative annoying, and the fact it’s not very “film-like” will annoy the crap out of you. This film is not for everybody, and that’s okay. As you can tell by now, I loved it. I loved how it seemed like a modern John Hughes movie. This film has all the archetypes of a classic 80’s Hughes movie: the outcast best friend, the frustrated parent, the two potential love interests (one of whom is a complete prick), prom, the focus on class differences in American culture (which is a subject which rarely pops up in American cinema, which is odd as it’s pretty much the basis of British cinema), and the obvious focus on music which transcends just accompanying the film, and becomes intertwined with it. Also, Molly Ringwald (or to give her her full name: Molly F*cking Ringwald) totally would have nailed this role. The director/writer acknowledged the influence that Pretty In Pink had on this film, and it’s obvious for all to see, but there also seems to be influenced by other films too; Boyhood, Freaks And Geeks etc. And it’s all the better for it. It makes the film seem familiar, so watching it is like welcoming an old friend into your home.

I read an article on BBC news a few weeks ago asking whether this was the most overrated film up for an Academy Award. They came to this conclusion by comparing critical reviews, and audience reviews. It’s got an average critical response of 94 (based on Metacritic reviews), but only a 77 in audience reviews on IMDB (well, a 7.7, but it’s not difficult to translate the scores). I was worried about that, I liked the trailer for this film and didn’t want to be disappointed. After watching this film I can say this: I know why people dislike it. The narrative structure is all over the place, it’s not a particularly beautiful film from a visual standpoint, and nothing really happens. It’s also INCREDIBLE! Kind of reminded me of Ghost World (which if you haven’t seen I highly recommend) in that it’s not so much about the story, but about the characters. I personally loved the visual style too. It made the whole thing look like a Polaroid picture. That, combined with the narrative structure, and the tone of the whole thing, made it seem like it was just a series of recollections from somebody, jumping from one topic to the next, sections missing as they’re not relevant to what they’re talking about at that exact moment. I know to some people that sounds like hell, and considering how often I go on about the importance of story, you’d think I’d hate this too, but it’s just too damn good for me not to love it. I know it’s early in the year, but I know for a fact that come January 2019, this will be on my list of favourite films of 2018. Usually I appreciate films more than I personally love them, this was the opposite; I loved it more than I liked it, but I still liked it a lot.

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