A special guest review to the L & D Report by Joanna K. Dane of A Terminal Case of Whimsy.
A few things about Lady Bird.
It passes the Bechdel Test in the opening scene: A middle aged mother and an 18 year old daughter weep to the closing lines of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. They have a moment. Then the daughter turns on the radio and the mother turns it off asking can’t we just have some silence? Do we always have to be entertaining ourselves?
A sketch that immediately illuminates their relationship.
The daughter insists her mother call her Lady Bird and dreams of moving to New York.
The mother berates that she’ll never get into Columbia, that she has a terrible work ethic, scolding her for leaving her clothes lying on the floor, for being insensitive that her dad just got fired, and that everything they do they do for her.
The father is empathetic and flawed, complexities even in the minor characters.
Lady Bird hams up the audition for the school musical and then is shocked she only gets chorus.
She falls in love with the leading man, a rich kid who breaks her heart, and then loses her virginity to a jaded boy in a rock band who reads Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn.
There’s the touching scene when the beloved theater teacher cries. And a hilarious one when the captain of the football team takes over as director.
And in the end, we feel the most empathy for the character who is the most difficult to empathize with.
That’s some great screenwriting.
And it’s an ode to Sacramento.