Why Lady Bird Was The Movie We Needed In 2017
Every year, Marissa and I watch as many movies as we can, especially as we move closer to the Oscar season. Admittedly, I’m not a movie critic or a film aficionado. I just like movies, especially ones that impact my heart and soul.
Lady Bird is a film that I fell in love with instantly. This coming of age story was hauntingly real in its portrayal of the early two thousands and some of my experiences in school and growing up.
It took me not only back in time, but deeper inside time. And that’s a story I won’t soon forget.
The year is 2002. I’m a senior in high school. The Sitz im Leben of those early millennium years was no joke.
It’s music, fashion, flip phones, college applications, and a post-911 world. It was a world before Instagram and Twitter, where the internet was something you accessed on slow dial-up connections and AOL instant messenger was considered social media.
It seems like it was another life time ago, and yet, it’s closer than I realize.
Going down memory lane is always a nice thing, but it’s strange to realize that was sixteen years ago. It’s even stranger to see a current movie set in a time–in my lifetime–that is considered a while ago.
Lady Bird did that. It was this nostalgic journey of returning to high school for me. And it brought with it all the feels.
Several years ago, I read about the importance of setting in a story. The mindset behind it is “Where you do, what you do, matters. It matters a lot.”
Lady Bird, in part, worked because it was a story told about a real place. That place was Sacramento. Throughout the film, different characters gave their views related to the city. It was either a beloved place, or a situation to leave.
The main character, Christine “Lady Bird,” is torn in her affection of the city. She has several pejorative reactions to her hometown and her motivation to go to college on the east coast is to get as far away from California as she can.
The tension continues back and forth. Eventually, she writes an essay where her Catholic school teacher remarks that she must really love Sacramento.
She rejects this theory at first, and her teacher tells her that she writes with such detail about Sacramento because… she truly pays attention.
And, perhaps, paying attention is the same thing as love.
At the end of the film when Lady Bird has left California for the east coast, she calls home, leaving a message for her mom where she describes the emotion she feels for her hometown. She didn’t hate it that much after all.
The movie is this revealing portrayal of the awkwardness of adolescence, but also a love song for the one’s hometown.
Can you miss something you never want to return to?
Can you ache with nostalgic longing for how things used to be, even though admittedly things are better now?
It’s funny how life and time and growing up all work together.
We can be so set on forging our own path and moving into the future, only to realize that part of what we want is to return to how it used to be.
And we can miss so much because we’re simply not paying attention to what is here and now and in front of us.
Now, the early two thousands are dead and gone, buried in the distant past. High school is almost as far away from me now as my fifties (that’s a weird thought).
Looking back, I can see the future coming up on the horizon from those early years.
Technology is going to change so much. Smart phones will come on the scene as well as the revolution of Apple, Google, and Amazon. We’ll get in wars and out of wars and back into them.
Life is so different now then it was then.
And yet, so much still remains. There is a goodness that won’t leave no matter how many years pile up. Hope is real and we should never give up on it.
These are the kind of stories that need to be told–stories that help us see where we’ve been and inspire us for where we’re going.
This is why I think Lady Bird was the movie 2017 needed. We needed a fresh look back to where we we’ve been, and the reminder that things are going to be okay as we move into the future.
Honestly, there have been several hopeless moments in the past year, so it was nice to be reminded of the power of hope.
And maybe for some of us, revisiting that state of angsty torment is not all that different from where we are now. (If you’ve seen the latest season of Gilmore Girls, they hit this perfectly with the “30 Something Gang.”)
Growing up, I remember hearing people older than I remark that life isn’t something “you get” or something that all of a sudden “makes sense” when you reach a certain age. I can certainly attest to this.
Rather, we are on a journey. It started years ago, but it keeps moving forward.
It was nice to be reminded of my journey from 2002 until now. A lot has changed, but so much is still the same. For that I’m grateful.
Greta Gerwig, the creator and director of the film, gave us a gift with this movie. And it’s one I will remember.
It’s been said, “to be spiritual is to be amazed.” And perhaps all of this begins when we choose to pay attention. Because paying attention, after all, reveals what we love.
I know many of us may feel that we don’t love the world of 2017.
It’s the challenges we’re facing; it’s the endless game of politics and the divisive nature of our world; it’s the fears of who we will be in the future.
But let us remember that, in many ways, we’ve been there before. This is just part of our story as we keep moving forward.
Let us not forget to pay attention because there are some beautiful things around us.
The world is a wonderful place.
And life is a gift.
If we hold onto that hope and keep working for a better future, we will be okay.