Nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Lady Bird is one of the past year’s most acclaimed films. Indie darling Greta Gerwig reveals herself to be a bold new cinematic voice with her directorial debut, excavating both the humor and pathos in the turbulent bond between a mother and her teenage daughter. Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf – just the best ever), a nurse working tirelessly to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird’s father (Tracy Letts) loses his job. Set in Sacramento, California in 2002, amidst a rapidly shifting American economic landscape, the film is an affecting look at the relationships that shape us, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home.
For those curious readers who have not seen the film (SPOILER ALERT FORTHCOMING – AVERT YOUR EYES), Lady Bird also features a pivotal gay subplot. After diving into her school’s theater scene, Lady Bird falls for Danny (Lucas Hedges) an adorable, lanky young fellow performer. Though they date for a good portion of the movie, sharing some deeply important coming-of-age moments, it’s later revealed that Danny is gay. Lady Bird catches him making out with another boy in a bathroom stall. This culminates in a deeply emotional scene where Danny comes clean to his pseudo-girlfriend, apologizing for leading her astray and begging her to keep his secret. The like goes: “I’m so ashamed of all of it. It’s going to be bad and I just need a little bit of time to figure out how I’m going to tell my mom and dad.”
Lady Bird is full of tenderness and it is scenes like this one that cement its status as a future touchstone for outcast teens of this generation looking for their modern day Breakfast Club, and a few characters to identify and sympathize with. Though the character has been deceitful, Danny’s honest moment resonates thanks to Lucas Hedges‘ heartfelt performance. After snagging a well-deserved Oscar nomination for last year’s Manchester by the Sea, Hedges appeared in Lady Bird and Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri this year (also nominated for Best Picture). Next year, audiences can catch him later this year starring in Boy Erased with Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton, Russell Crowe and Xavier Dolan. Based on the book by Garrard Conley, the film follows the son of a baptist preacher who is forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion program.
Speaking about Lady Bird to GQ, Hedges said “I feel like the core of the relationship between Lady Bird and Danny is very genuine and loving, and there is actually something that the two of them share that is really special. It was clear from the start that that was the connection Greta wanted to form. It wasn’t some stupid relationship. It was the first time either of them had been in love! It wasn’t necessarily romantic love. But it’s special all the same.”