Lady Bird flew to the top of my heart with its witty lines and realistic relationships.
My relationship with my mom hasn’t always been the greatest. We argue a lot and don’t agree on most things. I had never seen a realistic relationship of my mother and I until I saw Lady Bird. It brought attention to a mother-daughter relationship I was actually living.
Directed by Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird, has been receiving buzz in the film industry since its release in late November 2017. It won for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) at this year’s Golden Globes and received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
Gerwig is known for her roles in films such as Frances Ha and 20th Century Women; Lady Bird is Gerwig’s directorial debut. And it didn’t disappoint. Set in 2002, in Sacramento, CA, Lady Bird is a film that follows high school student Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson. Played by Saoirse Ronan, Christine grows into herself in her senior year and prolongs a strenuous relationship with her mother, Marion, played by Laurie Metcalf.
Watching the film with my mom was interesting because there were so many moments when my mom would look over at me when Christine said something she knew I would say.
For example, when the pair is thrift shopping for a dress, and they start bickering. Christine says, “You’re so infuriating.” A line I’ve uttered to my mom a handful of times.
I pretended not to catch her gaze, because I knew it was a ‘That’s definitely something you would say’ look.
My mom said that she had avoided watching the film because she had heard the mother-daughter relationship was representative of our own. “I think their relationship is just like ours,” said my mom when we finished watching the film. Even though the film hit a little close to home, we both still enjoyed watching it together.
I’ve had the luxury of having my mom in my life since birth, and we’ve always had a less than perfect relationship. Our arguments can go from Rory Gilmore’s best boyfriend to what I want to do after university. When Mother’s Day comes around, I never really knew how to handle it. I would stand in card stores for 10 minutes, unsure of which card to buy because I never find a card that fully encaptured how I felt for my mom. I would read the words that I didn’t feel in my heart. But I would settle, and buy a sappy Hallmark card and a bouquet of flowers.
My mom appreciated it, but it never really felt like the gifts came from my heart, but out of obligation. What kind of daughter would I be if I didn’t get my mom something for Mother’s Day? I think the relationship I have with my mom stems from the relationship I have with myself. I can be a closed off person, and I don’t open up about a lot of things with myself, let alone my mom.
The distance we have in our relationship is caused by my lack of self-esteem, but it’s something that I think a lot of young girls can relate to. Our relationship with our moms is rocky not because they’re a bad mom, or because they “don’t understand you,” but because you’re just not willing to open up to them. This can drive a wedge between you.
I loved the plot of Lady Bird so much is because it depicts a mother-daughter relationship that I related to. In media, there have always been two extremes- best friends and enemies.
But that’s not real. It’s not always one extreme to another.
My mom and I bicker a lot, but we also have tender moments when we value each other’s company. When it’s warmer outside, my mom and I will go on drives and just listen to music, go into stores, but never buy anything. It’s the one time we don’t argue at all. Maybe because the sun is too bright in our eyes. When Christine and her mom visit for-sale homes because it’s their “thing,” it’s so special, because there’s this calm moment between the pair. Ronan and Metcalf do an amazing job of depicting the typical relationship between these two generations of women.
Like Christine and Marion, my mom and I have fairly strong personalities and aren’t willing to budge for anything. Once, when we were at the mall, my mom was snappy with one of the sales associates. When I told her she was in the wrong, she snapped at me and told me I was supposed to be on her side.
Even though we don’t agree all the time, I’m learning that my mom is just trying to understand how I act, and sometimes she can come across as abrasive, but I think it’s her way of expressing her personality. I don’t want to be this door that my mom can’t open. My mom and aren’t that different after all.
I think learning to appreciate your mother and all her qualities is something I take for granted. Some girls don’t have a mother-figure in their life, and I dismiss mine on a daily basis. That sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. I want to be treated independently, but I know I wouldn’t be able to do most things in life without her. Like go to university or have my own bedroom. I’m starting to learn that it’s about finding a balance. It’s about understanding that your mother is doing what she does because she loves you. That she isn’t trying to upset you when she asks a personal question, or make you angry when she questions your actions. She’s trying to figure you out. Even though she was a young person once, growing up in 2018 is not the same as growing up in 1968.
And it’s not that I don’t love my mom, because I do. I just find it difficult to communicate my love for her. Christine also struggles with this and doesn’t realize it until the end of the film when she goes off to college. The final scene in the film is definitely a turning point for Christine. After a night of being in the hospital, she calls her home to tell her mom about when she was driving through Sacramento how she felt connected to her.
Now, I’m not saying that my relationship with my mom is mended and we’re best pals, because that would be unrealistic. But it’s a start to a better relationship. I’ve started telling her things about my life, playing her my favourite music, letting her watch one of my new favourite films.
Plus, featuring an early 2000s soundtrack with Justin Timberlake and Alanis Morissette (fun fact: Gerwig wrote letters to both artists asking their permission to put their songs in the film), and plaid garments that could last a lifetime, Christine was the rebellious girl that I never saw in myself. She walks around with bright pink hair and jumps out of a car when an argument with her mom gets heated. She stands her ground as a young woman growing up in the 20th century.
To quote Christine, you can’t be warm and scary. But my mom can. And I say this with the most (if not all) love in my heart. If you’re looking to watch a film with your mom this Mother’s Day, I think Lady Bird is the one. It’s relatable, and messy, and makes you want to tell your mom you love her.