Embark on an emotional journey with Lady Bird’s mother-daughter relationship


Madison Duong, Editor-in-Chief

Prior to her widely acclaimed movie adaptation Little Women (2019), Greta Gerwig made her directorial debut with Lady Bird (2017), a fantastic, 13-award-winning coming-of-age film showcasing what Gerwig does best—being able to portray an emotional love story. 

Lady Bird stars Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), a Catholic high school senior in Sacramento, California. She passionately declares her plans to attend a prestigious college and establish a new life on the East Coast, where she believes culture thrives. However, Lady Bird’s plans fall apart as her mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf), struggles to keep their family financially afloat after her husband, Larry (Tracy Letts), loses his job. 

With this comes heated arguments, emotional bonding moments, and heartbreaking scenes between a mother and her daughter as they struggle to understand each other.

Lady Bird addresses situations many high school students face today—arguments with parents, uncertainty about the future, feeling like you don’t belong, falling in love, and more. Many coming-of-age films are cheesy or far-fetched. As much as I love The Princess Diaries, there’s no way I’d suddenly find myself as the sole heir of a kingdom and have an extreme princess makeover.

The beauty of Lady Bird is that it highlights these typical and relatable high school experiences, no matter how unpleasant and uncomfortable they are. Lady Bird does not have a perfect relationship with her mom. In fact, in the opening scene, she jumps out of a car after an argument, breaking her arm in the process. In a heartbreaking argument scene that blew up on social media, Lady Bird angrily tells her mother to “give [her] a number” that she’d have to pay so she would never see her mother again.

As the movie progresses, it becomes apparent that Lady Bird and her mother are essentially the same person. They are both profoundly opinionated and passionate in their beliefs. Most importantly, despite their stubbornness and turbulent relationship, they love each other.

Lady Bird received criticism for its obnoxious characters, boring plot, and lack of a clear resolution. However, it’s crucial to realize that these are angsty, passionate high school characters going through first-time experiences and navigating life alone. I implore everyone to watch this emotional film as it makes every watcher look back at their familial relationships, learn that every moment shouldn’t be taken for granted, and realize home could be a place unmatched by anywhere else.

Lady Bird and her mother, Marion, have a complex relationship that could be seen as genuine love and support. However, many people also find their relationship abusive because of their cruel arguments. If you’ve watched the film, which side do you support? Feel free to expand your opinion in the comments.


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