Saoirse Ronan (who should've won the Oscar for Brooklyn), Laurie Metcalf (one of the most devastatingly talented actors to ever grace the small screen), Tracy Letts (among this century's finest playwrights and a fierce actor to boot), Lucas Hedges (brilliant last year in Manchester By the Sea), Stephen Henderson (superb in last year's Fences), Timothee Chalamet (about to embark on an awards season run with Call Me By Your Name) and Lois Smith (among our most treasured character actors), among other geniuses, in a film directed by that sublime up-and-comer Greta Gerwig?
How could such a production prove anything less than absolute perfection?
Lady Bird does not disappoint. It is among the year's very best and most insightful pictures. Gerwig writes and directs on a sky-high level that is matched in every moment by a game cast ready to bask in the rich material they've been given.
Ronan is the deliciously droll and strong-willed Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson, a teenager itching to graduate from her Catholic high school in Sacramento and ideally settle down somewhere in the northeast. She has a stormy relationship with her mom Marion (Metcalf), a woman just as candid as her daughter and supremely stressed from work - pressure that only gets worse when family patriarch Larry (Letts) loses his job. Marion is not keen at all on the idea of Lady Bird making such a cross country move. Adding additional turbulence to Lady Bird's life are a pair of thorny romantic escapades and a suddenly strained relationship with her best friend (the fabulous Beanie Feldstein).
Lady Bird never strikes a false note, nor does it put any of its richly talented actors to waste. Ronan and Metcalf are in prime form, their relationship the heart and soul of the picture. With the spotlight shone on them, Gerwig ends the film on an immensely moving and perceptive note. But there is so much more to cherish in this picture too, including yet another heartbreaking performance from Hedges, that uproarious scene-stealer Feldstein and also the sweet rapport between Lady Bird and her father.
Members of the Academy, I realize the category of Best Lead Actress is looking to be something of a zoo this awards season. If, however, you opt not to nominate Ronan, one of today's finest young talents, operating at the very top of her game here, I am prepared to throw a hissy fit that you'll be able to hear all the way from Boston. K?